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Klaus Duetoft, Senior Director
of eBay’s shared HR services
platform, MyHR, in Asia-Pacific, has a
fun, go-to anecdote when he wants to
highlight the lightning-quick evolution
of the internet scene.
“I tell people that one year in the
internet sector is almost four years
in traditional businesses because of
the speed of change,” he says. “If you
follow that principle, I’ve been at eBay
for nearly 56 years.”
A 14 (real)-year veteran of eBay,
Duetoft has seen technologies in the
internet sphere arrive, change, and
evaporate in what seemed like the blink
of an eye.
“The internet sector is the type of place
where you can’t stand still. You need to
constantly evolve, innovate, and fine-
tune your competitiveness,” he says.
“It is a fast-paced, highly-competitive,
and growing environment.”
Driving this rapid technological
evolution is a level of competition from
both large and small organisations that
shows no signs of abating.
Despite eBay’s stature as one of the
globe’s most recognisable internet
brands – it has 157 million active users
and 800 million listings worldwide –
Duetoft says the company would be
vulnerable if it ever stood still.
“There are players that we’re facing
both globally and in Asia-Pacific.
There are domestic start-ups, deep
and vertical players, as well as bricks-
and-mortar firms that are moving their
operations onto e-commerce platforms
or using them as a vehicle to drive
additional growth,” he explains.
Understanding, forecasting, and
building specific HR capabilities, in part
through the MyHR platform, is vital in
such an environment.
“Things like talent identification,
talent retention, ensuring you
optimise the leverage of your talent,
engagement, and capability growth:
these are the key drivers for internet-
based businesses,” says Duetoft.
While it commands a significant global
footprint, Duetoft says eBay remains
nimble enough to tailor its HR strategies
and adapt to the latest technology trends.
“eBay has a solid understanding of
what is really unique at the company, and
what the value propositions, strengths,
qualities, and requirements that we
need to target are,” he elaborates.
“Putting these two together allows
us to make sure that we develop HR
Despite being a world-leading marketplace, eBay is far from
resting on its laurels. Klaus Duetoft, Senior Director of MyHR
with eBay Asia-Pacific, says human capital is at the forefront of
the organisation’s operating model
Total number of employees at eBay
(Asia-Pacific): More than 2,300
Size of the HR Team (Asia-Pacific): 31
Key HR Focus Areas:
– Talent engagement
– Talent development
– Talent pipelining
AT A GLANCE
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3. 26 ISSUE 16.8 HRMASIA.COM
whereby an individual meets the people
who are interviewing them and gets
calibrated into the eBay environment
where they can succeed and flourish.”
Duetoft says this structure serves in
part as a self-selection process.
“Typically, the people that make
it through that process are highly-
engaged, exceptionally passionate
about the brand, and really feel they can
make a difference,” he explains.
Prospective employees can also
assess if their own values are aligned
with the organisation, and how they
can add value to the firm. “It allows the
organisation to review that as well.”
Duetoft says this, along with eBay’s
inclusive culture, means that when new
employees join the ranks, they do not have
to spend the early stages of their careers
proving themselves to their colleagues.
“In a lot of organisations, employees
have to build that credibility before
people bring them into the fold,” he says.
“You must be talented if you’ve made
it through the interview process at eBay.
It’s a lovely situation because it means
that people really trust you immediately,
and are more than willing to support you
to help you perform and succeed.”
Being a global internet player does
not mean that eBay is spared from the
recruitment roadblocks facing other
companies and industries, and Duetoft
identifies three key challenges.
One, he says, is being able to source
and maintain the standard of talent
being brought into the organisation.
“In a lot of our markets, the
e-commerce sector is really a fledgling
environment; there’s more growth to
come. So, getting the depth of talent
that we really need is often a challenge
because a lot of the roles that we
hire for don’t necessarily exist in the
markets where we need them,” he
explains. This is particularly true for
skills in search engine optimisation,
internet marketing, and product
management roles in Asia.
“When they do exist, there’s often a lot
of competition for them,” Duetoft shares.
On top of requiring candidates to be
proficient in their job functions, eBay
also makes it a point to hire those who
can seamlessly blend in with its culture.
“What we look for is not only the
technical capability but also a cultural fit
and that ability to thrive,” says Duetoft.
“Hiring people who bring both
functional capabilities and the value-
based style component of the brand is
Just as how the internet industry is
continuously evolving, “eBayers” must
also be able to adapt to that ever-
“Hence, the third recruitment challenge
is being able to hire people who can flex,
mould and adjust to a constantly changing
environment,” Duetoft elaborates.
“It really means that people must have
a strong level of resilience and a strong
level of conceptual flexibility.”
With eBay now having engaged in
deeper partnerships with retailers,
Duetoft says the organisation is casting
a much broader hiring net.
strategies and programmes in the
context of what’s being driven externally
and the competitive landscape.”
eBay also leverages on its own unique
business model and culture to stay
ahead of the pack.
“Some aspects that stand out for
me about eBay is that it’s a results-
oriented business, and a highly
relationship and network-driven
organisation,” Duetoft shares.
“It’s also inclusive, and we really
believe in an egalitarian approach. All
our staff have a view and we believe in
them sharing that view.
“We operate in a very flat, non-
hierarchical and non-political
Duetoft says the staff culture is evident
right from the moment a candidate
begins the battery of interviews required
to secure a job there.
“It can typically take anywhere from
eight to nine interviews for most people
to get into the company,” he says.
“What that does is create a process
What is MyHR?
In 2012, the eBay leadership team sought to find a sustainable solution on building a world-class,
scalable HR organisation with the flexibility and expertise to match the growing company. Four years
later, the MyHR organisation continues to evolve, thrive and grow at eBay.
MyHR provides direct contact to answer both routine and complex HR questions and inquiries for all
Klaus Duetoft, Senior Director of MyHR in Asia-Pacific says the platform is a brand in itself, with a
clear mandate for empowering eBay staff, helping managers to keep their staff on track, and delivering
real business results.
“MyHR focuses on the entire employee lifecycle, from hiring, enabling, performing, developing, and
retaining,” he says. Among its wide-ranging services are:
• Employee onboarding
• Employment documentation
• Queries on policies and procedures
• Information on all types of leave
• Employee data management
Duetoft says MyHR is also focused on building advanced self-service through the MyHR Online
portal. “This serves as the primary self-service access point for HR-related information and personal
career management,” he adds.
• Employee relations and investigations
• Performance management
• Performance coaching
• Workforce analytics
• People management coaching and counselling
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4. 27ISSUE 16.8 HRMASIA.COM
“Today, we get people from commerce
and consumer companies, and retailers.
We also get them from consulting,
internet and technological companies,”
This broader talent search has
also extended to the graduate front,
something Duetoft acknowledges was
not traditionally on eBay’s radar.
“The concept of talent pipelining
is an essential practice for us now,”
he says. “We’re now much more
focused on bringing graduates into
the organisation as interns, and we’re
much more focused on really getting a
breadth of experience-based talent.”
Breadth, not depth
The disruptive nature of the internet
world is also reflected in the career
development pathways of employees at
Duetoft says most traditional
organisations have clearly defined
progression paths, but firms emanating
from the internet sector, including eBay,
do not necessarily provide the same
depth of hierarchical employee growth.
“What we do provide is an incredible
breadth of experience growth,” he
The organisation’s performance
management process has also undergone
a major revamp to help plot the career
pathways of staff at every level.
Duetoft says the company has done
away with its annual ratings-driven
process, and has now shifted to a
framework that does not incorporate
any quantitative ratings.
“We’ve done that to really emphasise
on contribution, readiness, potential and
the conversations a manager would have
with individuals around how they want to
develop,” he elaborates.
Duetoft says eBay does not specifically
articulate a career trajectory for employees
early in their careers.
“The people that we hire are typically
highly motivated, highly engaged and self-
directed individuals. That really enables
them to pursue their own careers,” he says.
With eBay placing a huge focus on the
functional capability of employees,
skills training is an inevitable focus
of the organisation’s learning and
“Especially in skills like paid search,
internet marketing and search engine
optimisation, there is a heavy focus on
developing them internally.”
eBay also aims to develop what Duetoft
terms “sustainability of intensity” within
“It’s about knowing how to develop
skills in your staff for them to be
intense when they need to be intense,
and rejuvenating them when they need
to be rejuvenated,” he explains.
“For instance, we’ve focused on
concepts such as mindfulness training
and work-life balance.”
eBay also recognises that developing
future leaders is an important strategy
and the company has developed a
blended, four-pronged approach
towards leadership development.
“Firstly, we have to ensure our
employees have meaningful and
challenging roles and secondly, we have
to give those individuals timely and
constructive feedback,” he explains.
“The third aspect is access to rotational
and development opportunities, whether
they’re leading projects or being put on
challenging assignments; and fourthly,
it’s really about ensuring the visibility
MyHR Senior Advisor
MyHR Singapore Centre
MyHR Senior Advisor
WHO’S WHO IN HR
of that talent across the organisation.”
Having carefully cultivated its own unique
culture, eBay is also a firm believer in
employee engagement; Duetoft says
the organisation conducts quarterly
He cites that eBay has an “outstanding
“90% of our employees provide
feedback in those surveys. Based on
those quarterly surveys, I think we have
a very deep and intrinsic understanding
of our organisation, culture and
people,” Duetoft explains.
eBay also rigorously ensures that its
compensation and benefits programmes
are competitive, robust and holistic.
“We regularly benchmark our base
salaries and packages to make sure they
are competitive and appropriate,” he says.
Every staff member, regardless of
rank, can also participate in an annual
One non-monetary way of
recognising employees is an electronic
card scheme, based on eBay’s values.
“When a ‘You’ve Made My Day’ card
gets issued to a staff member, not only
does their manager get notified, but
their manager’s manager also gets
notified,” Duetoft shares.
“We did that very consciously
because part of recognition is being able
to share the contribution.”
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