Rekindling the Value of Connection: From People to People

January 22, 2024

As we discuss the gaps with HR leaders and take into account the diverse HR competencies needed, we’re also extending our support beyond L&D

Developing an ecosystem to address HR priorities

Siska: Hi Eddy! To start with, could you provide more insights into the NewCampus journey and its ecosystem partners? What opportunities in the L&D landscape have driven the development of the ecosystem?

Eddy: NewCampus has been focusing on L&D since 2020, but it was really at the start of last year, during conversations with HR leaders in our community, that we began uncovering gaps. Everyone needs L&D, but they may not require it at this moment.

If you consider a company or the HR lifecycle, there are around ten to 15 different HR competencies that an HR leader needs to navigate in their lifetime. It's usually cyclical, including common competencies such as talent acquisition, employee onboarding, goal management, and employee performance management.

At the end of the day, especially when dealing with scaleups and HR teams, they have limited resources, meaning they can only focus on two to three different HR competencies per quarter or semester every six months.

From our perspective, NewCampus wasn't solely built to provide L&D programmes. One of our key visions was to help scaleups in the Southeast Asia region with any people-related problems, aiming to empower the HR team. The NewCampus ecosystem initiative is designed to assist HR leaders in more ways than just L&D.

As mentioned earlier, HR teams cycle through a list of competencies to focus on. At the start of last year, when engaging with our HR leaders, we realised a large percentage of them were working on goal setting, goal management, employee performance management, and performance reviews. These were the key areas our HR leaders were addressing, indicating that no one was actively looking to purchase L&D programmes.

Yet, if you think about it, they are setting up the infrastructure to allow their employees to thrive by establishing clear goals and implementing a structured way of collecting employee performance. These are steps required before L&D can be integrated efficiently into the company.

One thing led to another, and we noticed a significant demand for goal setting. We asked ourselves how we could assist our HR leaders in this aspect.

During our ten years in this space, we have connected with many founders and teams specialising in improving goal-setting and goal-management processes for companies. Essentially, we reached out to a fellow founder of a company that has been around for the last five years, specialising in OKR setting and goal setting. We brought him and his team on board as our first ecosystem partner to work with a couple of HR leaders facing that specific issue.

This process felt natural because we know the founder of this OKR setting platform. It's like we're bringing him on board to help add value to the HR leaders in our community. It felt more like introducing someone we trust to add value to someone we want to support.

It felt more like introducing someone we trust to add value to someone we want to support.

Siska: What criteria are considered when selecting partners to bring into the ecosystem?

Eddy: I would say it is closely tied to the NewCampus culture. One of our values is that relationships matter. We have built many relationships, whether it's with HR leaders in the HR community or with other startups developing solutions for the HR community.

We are specifically looking for founders or teams that are more flexible and agile. Based on our experience working with HR leaders in our community, they predominantly operate in scaleups or relatively younger companies. There is a need to adapt quickly to changing situations, and the product or service must be agile to fit their current needs.

A comprehensive support beyond referrals

Siska: How does this ecosystem benefit the NewCampus community?

Eddy: If you look at traditional ways or traditional relationships, the HR team will have three, five, maybe even more vendors. That's why you have HR business partners as a role within more mature companies. You literally hire someone on your HR team to manage a relationship with a vendor providing something to your company.

What ends up happening is your system might become fragmented because you have your training done by one vendor, your employee performance tool in Malaysia created by another startup in Indonesia, and your talent acquisition team working with a job portal based out of Singapore or Vietnam. This fragmentation leads to inefficiency and common misalignment.

However, NewCampus approaches this differently by working with our HR leaders to onboard these different partners and address the company's or HR team's needs.

We are actively involved in the process. We won't just say, "You need talent acquisition help, let me refer you to one of our partners, and you'll have a separate conversation." We want to be brought along on that journey and provide assistance to our HR leaders throughout their entire purchasing process.

At the end of each project, we are part of the end-of-project debrief or end-of-project report conducted by the partner. We work with the HR leader to bring that information back internally, breaking it down into the next steps we could explore together.

From outcome to purpose: the essence of an ecosystem

Siska: How will this bring value to the ecosystem partner and the relationship between them?

Eddy: When we went through a branding exercise back in 2021, we asked ourselves many questions about the purpose of NewCampus. We have some goals that we want to achieve, such as sending the next hundred thousand emerging leaders from Southeast Asia through our programmes. However, these are outcomes, statistics, and goals.

But what is the purpose of NewCampus? Our head of marketing, Kitty, came up with a compelling story. Essentially, what NewCampus is trying to do is not to build a new ecosystem in Southeast Asia. We're not attempting to create something entirely new; instead, we aim to enrich an existing ecosystem.

We are not ecosystem owners in the sense that we hold the keys to the gate and without us, things won’t be there. The ecosystem has always been present; there have always been HR leaders before NewCampus came along. The same applies to startups looking to work with HR leaders; they have always existed before NewCampus entered the scene. What NewCampus provides in value is essentially matchmaking.

We invest significant time in understanding the needs of our HR leaders. On the other side, due to our long-standing presence in this space, we have built close relationships with founders and teams developing excellent products and services for HR teams. We genuinely believe that they will benefit from each other, not just from a financial or business-building perspective, but also on a personal level.

This is how I perceive the NewCampus ecosystem initiative. This is how we should approach making introductions. It goes beyond financials and business objectives; it's about connecting people who share the same goals, vision, culture, and even vibe. This, I believe, is why NewCampus exists for HR leaders and why we exist for our ecosystem partners.

Connecting HR leaders with bespoke solutions and meaningful partnerships. Browse our partners.