The Future Employee

The Future Employee

The future is now. Well, in some cases, the future is past. The sci-fi movie Blade Runner, made in 1982 and 2017, set the future in 2019. It got some things right (or at least headed that way in terms of flying cars and “android” helpers) and some things wrong (like the internet and social media). But it seems there will always be employees.

Thus far, employees are created from a particular education system. Formal education trains humans to understand existing technologies and systems and prepares them to join the system. After 20 years of schooling, the student is expected to pick a career. Everyone is born unique. Unfortunately, education standardizes them. Today, each person is not measured by her/his worth, but by pitching them against others studying the same standards.

So, what is the current education crop looking like? We are talking about Generation Z, the post-Millennials, born near 2000s (Bloomberg says aged between 7 to 22 in 2019), born post-internet. 2020’s tiesagers (passed teenage into tiesage). Gen z’s education brings in new approaches to education in terms of entrepreneurship, digital technology and personal branding at an early age. They are digitally literate (as opposed to educated). Preference for education in humanities are decreasing and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are increasing. Gen Z are currently physically armed with internet, social media voice, science and technology in their hands; and psychologically faced with social media stress, climate change, family relations; and still schooling and high cost of living. These are the current future employees (pardon the oxymoron).

But the current crop of gen x and millennials are also part of the workforce. They bring with them experience, perspective, history and probably wisdom. They are also in transition towards higher digital literacy.

In the past, things were fairly simple following a fairly well-defined process: study hard and get a job, stay with the organization for the entire career, work way up the corporate ladder and building a nice retirement package. Hindsight is 20-20 vision and all that. But this is becoming an exception.

The corporate objective is moving away from mere profitability and returns to shareholders. Future employees look for corporate responsibility as much as learning.

So, what is the future looking like to these employees? These leads to few questions:


Will AI and automation take over future careers? Will my co-worker or supervisor or supervisee be a robot?

The only constant is change. It has happened in the past when we moved from rewarding loyalty with retirement packages and wrist watches, to annual bonuses, to hire and fire policies. Thinking AI and automation will take over future careers is like asking if discovering fire will result in extinction. AI and Automation are tools to help us. Hence, the future employee will or need to move high up in value-chain – both individually and operationally. There will be a rapid rethinking on moving away from our comfort zones to catch up and keep up.

We are already reporting and responding to robots. Be it to chatbots or IVRs or designing our CVs to respond positively to AI screening. The idea is acceptance to the change. The future employee and employer will already be adaptable to such changes.


Is lifelong learning a wise investment?

What if I train my employee and the employee leaves to work with a competitor? The answer is what if you don’t train and the employee stays in the organization? Training employees is like playing mah-jong or poker. So long as there are only 4 players, the same amount will remain in the kitty and there will be no challenges and profitability. One must not look at one playing table, but the whole room full of playing tables. When organizations return trained employees to the workforce, the country gains with higher skilled employees.


The HR future

What is required of a future employee?

The future employees must be “twingineers” – with the ability to work in both the physical and digital space. They must learn to be an Explorer – Multi-functioner – Innovator – Team player. The future employee must engage in lifelong learning to stay relevant both within an organization and in the global business environment. They will learn greater adaptability to take on new jobs and new roles and older ones become redundant due to industry 4.0. The future employees must learn that constant digital transformation in an organization is a given. They will learn application of relevant technology as there are and will be many options that technology will provide. There will be no more low skill, routine jobs.


What is required of a future employer?

Employers must be twingineers as well. correspondingly must provide for quick lateral shifts to the future employee so as to provide a working environment best suited to their uniqueness. Jobs must provide for customization and flexibility. Organizations must provide for ability to work across gen x to gen z, incorporate a consistent and adaptable digital culture, bring in agile corporate standards and bureaucracy. Corporate constitutions can no longer be written in stone. Learning is no longer on-the-job, but what the employer invests in the employee in terms of lifelong learning. Organizations must make employees future ambassadors of their organization. They can prove that they are returning better employees and therefore better human beings to the world. Investment in digital transformation should not be near-term business operations; it is a long-term strategy. Digital transformation should not be to protect legacy ways of doing business, but true transformation of the business itself. Employers can attract new talent for near-term but must train existing employees for long-term. Such lifelong training must be uniform to facilitate uniform integration of various skills and outputs.

For partnerships, speaker and general business enquiries with 2iB Partners:

Contact Person Dylan Tan
Designation COO
Email Dylan@2ibpartners.com


Is having a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program just a cost to your company?

Is having a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program just a cost to your company?

Developing great companies that give back is more about devising a clear Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) program aligned with the company’s goals and values rather than forcefully integrating CSR with their business strategies and goals. Instead of passing it off as a short term marketing gimmick, CSR should be seen as a long term investment strategy.

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Philippines 4.0 Skills Conference | 20-21st Nov

Philippines 4.0 Skills Conference | 20-21st Nov

In conjunction with Philippine Trade Training Center, Global MSME Academy, Thames International and accelebator, 2iB Partners will be speaking on Emerging Trends in Retail, HR Transformation and how to internationalize your business. 


Learn from 12 different tracks hosted and supported by experienced professionals and business men! The event will be held in the Philippines and attended by more than 300 other delegates. Find venue details below.


Philippine Trade Training Center

Roxas Blvd.

corner sen. Gil Puyat Ave,

Pasay City,


Date: Nov 20-21st, 2019

2iB Partners in brief

2iB Partners is a specialist M&A and management consultancy firm that has extensive networks with strategic buyers, MNCs, listed companies, investment networks and funds from US, UK, China, Philippines, India, Vietnam, Myanmar, etc.


2iB Partners help companies scale up and internationalize through inorganic growth, joint ventures or management consultancy. Through Singapore as a strategic base, 2iB Partners helps companies outside of Asia gain market access and companies in Asia expand internationally and regionally. 2iB Partners also provide ad-hoc entrenchment of highly qualified professionals and experienced businessmen to solve complex business problems through experience and insight.


For partnerships, speaker and general business enquiries with 2iB Partners:

Contact Person Dylan Tan
Designation Chief Operating Officer
Email Dylan@2ibpartners.com


Is having a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program just a cost to your company?

Is having a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program just a cost to your company?

Developing great companies that give back is more about devising a clear Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) program aligned with the company’s goals and values rather than forcefully integrating CSR with their business strategies and goals. Instead of passing it off as a short term marketing gimmick, CSR should be seen as a long term investment strategy.

read more
Mergers & Acquisitions – simplified. Or, a practical guide

Mergers & Acquisitions – simplified. Or, a practical guide

The term “Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)” is generally used in one breath, but they are different. Let us go back to basics.

A merger means 2 companies combine to become one with some legal variations where one company loses its identity, or share the identity or create a new one. Though mergers are between companies, in some cases the Government may help facilitate a merger by passing a law. This is rare and controversial.

An acquisition means purchasing of assets of another entity. The assets could be shares in whole or part, business, property or combinations of them. However, in this case, the acquiring entity is the dominant one.

The philosophy for both may be for growth and size. The reasons may be taking advantage of a bigger name, market access, clearing past mistakes, pool resources, reboot the respective businesses, combining products or simply to be bigger.

The risks of M&A have been covered in an earlier article When Mergers & Acquisitions Don’t Work. In addition to the problems listed there, there are also legal risks of anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws in large M&As.


M&A process

  1. Strategy
  2. Identification
  3. Preliminary Due Diligence
  4. Expressions of Interest
  5. Detailed Due Diligence
  6. Definitive Documentation
  7. Post M&A


1. Strategy:

M&A begins with an idea in a company that helps it increase market share and access, talent acquisition, product or technology acquisition, growth and size. Each of these deal drivers help narrow down the potential target companies and the regions they operate in. The prepared profile also helps in the preliminary due diligence.

At this point, it is also important to know the type of company to be added to the company’s portfolio. Whether there is a philosophical fit and proper post-integration timelines have been added.

Why M&A:

  • Why and what are you acquiring?
  • Boosting current performance
  • Acquiring resources, premium pricing
  • Acquiring resources, lower cost
  • One-stop shop
  • Reinventing business model
  • Acquiring a disruptive business model
  • Acquiring to decommoditize
  • Paying the right price
  • Avoiding integration mistakes

2. Identification:

In line with strategy, identification of potential companies for a merger or an acquisition by a company takes place. Identification can be conducted by business and management consultants, investment bankers, business brokers, lawyers, accountants or simply, by the company/individual itself.

Most target companies that are amenable to acquisition (not merger) may be distressed companies i.e., debt laden. They may also have management or shareholder issues, hit a sales / revenue ceiling, danger of disruption, funding issues.

Acquiring a business:

  • Brokers: Business and management consultants, investment bankers and bank special assets group, business brokers, lawyers, accountants, news sites, business sites, networks and close circles
  • Reference/reputation check: market information, clients, employees
  • Level of distress
  • Meeting, discussions and negotiations with owner
  • External affecting factors such as lenders, shareholders, third parties
  • Continued use of target, reinvent or retain current business plan
  • Requirements of target and cost of acquisition including IP, database and assets
  • Goodwill and reputation

3. Preliminary Due Diligence

During or simultaneous with the identification process, a preliminary due diligence or DD should take place. Available online search including LinkedIn on the key persons involved, other directories with brief information, reportage about the company and persons involved, references from common friends and resources, ex-management and employees.

An important aspect of DD is that it is not a singular process. It can be in two parts. One, if there is trust and two, the detailed DD.

The deeper the general DD, the longer lasting the M&A. Identification is not only about targets that add to the bottom line. It greatly improves the credibility of the target when the representations made matches with the final DD.

A few dollars spent in the initial stages will go a long way in either a long-lasting relationship or a much valuable and cheap lesson learnt for future projects. It is a relationship because it involves not only internal personnel, but clients and customers post M&A as well.

4. Expressions of Interest

The companies may then reach out directly or through third parties to evince or find out interest in M&A. A series of meetings will take place. May also involve exchange of contracts relating to confidential information, circumvention or solicitation.

Next is an exchange of expressions of interest. These may be simple email exchanges, formal letter of offer, binding or non-binding term sheets, memorandum of understanding or an agreement.

5. Detailed Due Diligence

A formal process involving exhaustive inspection and review of documents and information to see if assets represented are true and uncover any unstated liabilities. DD may involve commercial, financial, technical or legal DD. The DD process may take over 3 months to conclude.

6. Definitive Documentation

These are the final documents signed and executed and assets transferred. They may include – sale and purchase, share transfer, share subscription, management/key employment agreements or variations of these. There may be additional documents such as restated charter documents, shareholder, escrow, closing and future engagement contracts.

7. Post M&A

This involves philosophy, leadership, legal documentation review, management review, integration, training, regulatory and statutory compliance, corporate compliance, operations, human capital reorganization, customer/client contracts, change and culture management, risk management, name change processes, corporate communications.





Merged & Acquired – Solution

  • M&As are delicate subjects. In these cases, I say that the shortest distance between two points is never a straight line. Diplomatic skills, EQ, empathy, motivational theory applications, change management and cultural integrations are pre-requisites for a successful M&A. This actually saves time in the long run and are the multiple points that in fact bring the main 2 points together.
  • Capture and reallocation of HC in merged or acquired companies. This capital which has high return on investment in an M&A.
  • Guanxi – Like most Chinese expressions, guanxi is complex. Simply put, it means “relationships” (but without hierarchy). Build understanding and acceptance before M&A. It forms what I call Human Due Diligence.
  • Find professionals that give you the paradoxical and elusive “Collaborative M&A with Organic Growth” that consider contribution by all parties to an M&A to help each other increase output, increase customer base, improve and develop new products and successfully deploy HC.
Is having a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program just a cost to your company?

Is having a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program just a cost to your company?

Developing great companies that give back is more about devising a clear Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) program aligned with the company’s goals and values rather than forcefully integrating CSR with their business strategies and goals. Instead of passing it off as a short term marketing gimmick, CSR should be seen as a long term investment strategy.


Some benefits that a good CSR imparts to a business:

  1. Improving name recognition
  2. Boosting brand reputation among consumers
  3. Increasing sales and positive consumer sentiment
  4. Assisting in efforts to recruit and retain talented employees
  5. Improving the quality of life in communities where you do business


Some companies with example of good CSR model:


Coca-Cola’s 5×20 program

Companies are no longer looking at CSR as a marketing move, but rather as a long-term investment. For example, the Coca-Cola Company’s 5×20 program aims to bring five million women in the developing world into its business as local bottlers and distributors of Coca-Cola products by 2020.

This investment to empower young women entrepreneurs will obviously generate more revenue for Coca-Cola because they will have more bottlers and can sell more product. But at the same time, this type of investment will undoubtedly lead to better-educated people and eventually, more prosperous communities in areas that need help.


The corporate social responsibility model implemented by Visa provides financial opportunities for people in developing areas of the world. By partnering with local governments and nonprofit organizations, people who previously did not have access to the benefits of banking and financial services now do.The Gates Foundation found that this type of service helps low income and poor people manage their finances in trying times, build assets, and increase connectivity worldwide.


CSR as a cost-saving measure

Other companies look at CSR as a way to save money. Energy efficiency is a good example. Wal-Mart has three goals of its social responsibility policy: to be fully supplied by renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that sustain people and the environment. These are lofty goals, but if achieved, they will ultimately save the company a great deal of money.

From savings to developing loyalty with consumers, the benefits of becoming a socially responsible far outweigh the costs. Companies can no longer to afford to ignore their social responsibilities.



Statistics on Employee Engagement

Purchasing Behaviour

  • 55% of global consumers willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact up 10% from 2011 – Nielsen 2014 Doing Well by Doing Good  
  • 42% of North American consumers willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact up 7% from 2011 – Nielsen 2014 Doing Well by Doing Good  
  • 1/3 rd of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. – unilever international study 2016
  • A study in 2014 by public relations and marketing firm Cone Communications and Echo Research revealed 90 percent of shoppers worldwide are likely to switch to brands that support a good cause, given similar price and quality.

Sustainability Influences

  • Among the 66% of global respondents willing to pay more, over 50% of them are influenced by key sustainability factors, such as a product being made from fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients (69%), a company being environmentally friendly (58%), and company being known for its commitment to social value (56%). Sales, and coupons didn’t even make the top five. For this group, personal values are more important than personal benefits, such as cost or convenience. – Nielsen
  • More than one in five (21%) said they would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials clearer on their packaging and in their marketing.  Representing an estimated €966 billion opportunity exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear. – unilever international study 2016


  • Trend for purpose-led purchasing is greater among consumers in emerging economies than in developed markets. 78% in the US and 53% of shoppers in the UK say they feel better when they buy products that are sustainably produced, that number rises to 88% in India and 85% in both Brazil and Turkey. – unilever international study 2016

Attitudes on Social Responsibility

Millennials and Work


Developing a CSR program is not necessarily just a cost, it can help propel your business forward, create a more civic conscious brand image while at the same time, giving back to society. A good CSR scheme should produce win-win outcomes.


3 Key Notes Before Entering a New Market [Video & Transcript]

3 Key Notes Before Entering a New Market [Video & Transcript]

The above is a video taken during one of 2iB Partners master class where our advisor Mr. Richard Eu answers a question on “3 Key Notes Before Entering a New Market” by a business owner, Mr. Peh Zheng Yang.

 [Begin Transcript]

Mr. Peh: You mentioned something like for more traditional businesses, like my retail business with a product and when you’re looking to expand regionally, you talked about either buying or organic growth. So, well you mentioned that there are very key differences to look out for. So, I’d like to know, what are 3 important things to look out for – perhaps like processes to look out for or potholes we need to avoid.


Mr. Richard Eu (2iB Partners):

The People Problem


Actually, the main thing is the people problem. You get the right person, anything can work. In most cases it is very hard to find the right person, that’s one.


Aligning existing operations


And the other thing is that, if you start out in a new country, you have got to give a lot of effort, backing and support from your existing operations. So are your existing operations prepared to do this and spend time doing stuff, not beneficial for them, you know and to help out this new territory. So I come, you know, in my case, we have situations where the people from one country wouldn’t support the other one because they are looking at their own bottom line. So you have got find a way of aligning everybody else in the organization to ensure the success of that operation. So it is some compensation scheme you have to think of, right?


Navigating regulatory issues


And then the third one I would say is probably, in our case particularly – regulatory, getting over regulatory issues. But generally speaking, every time I go to a new territory, requirements will be different and you’re going to need somebody who can navigate the stuff locally. I won’t say paying bribes, but you’ve got to know who are the right people to deal with. Especially in the emerging countries, it’s a lot more difficult to do that.


[End Transcript]


Why is Instagram a Vital Part of your Marketing Strategy

Why is Instagram a Vital Part of your Marketing Strategy

Throw a stone and you will probably find someone who is taking a photo to post on Instagram. There has also been a strong push for consumer centric businesses to produce and develop products that are “Insta-worthy”. Whether it’s your insta-obsessed girlfriend or you taking an IG Story video to show how happening your life is, Instagram has become a necessity for businesses to connect with their consumers and begin meaningful conversations. According to statistics, Instagram is the 2nd most common social media platform used by marketers worldwide as of 2017 (Statista, 2018).

 In fact, many businesses have used Instagram successfully in their PR and marketing efforts. If you haven’t begun, here are some reasons why you should.


    There is a high level of engagement & interaction with products and brands through instagram

    • 60% of users learn about new products on Instagram (AdEspresso, 2018).
    • Instagram has an interaction rate higher than any other social platform (Forbes, 2017)
    • 51% of Instagram users access the platform daily (Wordstream, 2018)
    • In terms of engagement, Instagram is ahead of Facebook with a median engagement rate of 1.60% per post for brands. (Sprout Social, 2019)
    • As of June 2018, there were 400 million daily active Instagram Stories users. That’s 300 million more users since its launch in 2016.

    Instagram allows you to engage younger audiences

    • 6 out of 10 Instagram users are aged 18-to-29 (Wordstream, 2018)
    • Instagram continues to attract a younger audience with 72% of teens saying that they use the platform. This is an impressive increase from 2015 when 52% of teens said that they used the platform. (Sprout Social, 2019)

    Social influencers support Instagram

    • 75% of social media influencers believe that Instagram is the best avenue for influencer marketing strategies (Ignite Visibility, 2018)

    So what are you waiting for?

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