CASSAUNDRA TAN – HEAD OF GLOBAL EMPLOYEE BENEFITS – ASIA
Joined Honan: April 2018
A QUOTE CAPTURING YOUR APPROACH TO YOUR ROLE
“Better an ‘oops’ than a ‘what if?’”
This really resonates with me because a lot of people fear speaking up, breaking the mould, challenging things, and going after opportunities for fear of failure. In business, you can’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try something or you’ll always be one step behind. I’ve learned so much more through my failures than I would ever have learned by not trying.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I started my career as so many of us do, unsure of what role would fit me or what I wanted to pursue. What I was 100% sure about was that it couldn’t revolve around math or Mandarin because well, let’s just say my grades told the world I wasn’t very good at them.
As a huge Formula 1 fan, I decided to apply for an internship at Red Bull. Fast forward 6 months and I was in the paddock at the Singapore Grand Prix having dinner with drivers and rubbing shoulders with celebrities. It was the best time of my life. From there I developed a love of public relations and marketing and took on subsequent roles at Crowd PR and Boardroom Limited in that capacity. It was during my time at Boardroom where I was introduced to the world of Business Development that I realised this was my calling. When a role at Honan opened that allowed me to pursue this path, I jumped at it, and it’s been home for the last 4 and a half years!
WHAT DOES THE HEAD OF GLOBAL EB ASIA DO?
As the Head of Global Benefits in Asia, I work closely with our Head of Global Benefits at Honan, Alexandra Slimming to execute strategy and growth across Australia and Asia and ensure service consistency across the Group. I oversee our global portfolio of clients and lead the Asian team in support and management of our clients’ global and local Employee Benefits Programs.
My role includes identifying projects and building capabilities within the team to ensure we continuously provide more value-added services to our clients and partners. Throughout the year, I represent Honan at various conferences and across our global networks and actively engage with our partners in sharing best practices and trends across different markets.
Flexible Benefits – Covid has truly transformed the way we do business. The one-size-fits-all model is becoming obsolete, and employers are now actively looking at ways to incorporate more flexibility and personalisation into their benefits programs. HR professionals are focusing on adding unique elements including lifestyle and preventive care benefits to their programs to stay ahead of the curve in a competitive talent market. In Singapore, the popularity of Flexible Benefits – which allows employees to customise their benefits portfolio to suit their own needs/lifestyle is proving to be a powerful tool in the attraction and retention of top talent. It’s been such a pleasure to support many of our clients with our award-winning employee engagement technology that can facilitate such designs.
WHAT 2 THINGS DO YOU FIND MOST MOTIVATING ABOUT YOUR ROLE AND WHY?
Exposure – Being in a global role is so fascinating. On Monday, I might speak to a partner in India about the latest regulatory changes that impact our clients. On Thursday, I could be on a late-night Zoom call with a client in the USA, discussing a pension plan for their employees. It’s been a blast learning and gaining insights into all these different markets and engaging with my peers across the globe.
The sky is the limit – In my role, I am constantly encouraged to challenge things, to express my ideas, and I am given the opportunity to run with them. This is extremely empowering, especially for a young professional.
BIGGEST LEARNING FROM YOUR TIME AT HONAN?
Ask for help when you need it and never be afraid to reach out for assistance. It truly takes a village, and you don’t have to do everything on your own.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE MYTH/ASSUMPTION ABOUT EMPLOYEE BENEFITS, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I’d change the assumption that only women work in this field. I’m happy to share that I sit next to a guy called James at work and he’s an Employee Benefits gun!
YOUR CORE FOCUS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD AT HONAN?
The HR landscape has truly evolved and as brokers, we need to rise to the challenge of meeting these changing needs and expectations. We’ll be focused on enhancing the client experience and offering powerful value-added services to our clients. I’m very excited that we are also developing more resources and insights to share with our clients in Asia!
RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING / A GREAT ONLINE RESOURCES/A PODCAST?
You’ve got to watch Drive to Survive the Netflix series on Formula 1. If you think F1 is just cars going around a track, think again!