For a business to be successful, focus should be on developing staff, participants said at a panel discussion on "CEO perspectives on HR management" held in Ho Chi Minh City.

Businesses depend on many factors, including capital, technology and human resources, but of these, HR plays a decisive role in success, said Nguyen Trong Dam, Deputy Minister of the Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

If a business has high-quality HR and a good management policy, it could promote their employees' potential, he said.

Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, Chairman of Saigon Co.op, said HR was even more important in the time of economic integration.

HR practitioners must understand the business operations of their companies and their staff in order to develop appropriate HR strategies to maximise the latter's potential.

"Besides training, companies need to develop their business culture, and create a good working environment to retain people," he said.

Delegates at the event agreed that local companies were paying more attention to making their HR management more professional.

Enterprises investing in people and in HR management usually achieved great success, they said.

Edward Foong, assistant honorary secretary of the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI), said Vietnam had grown quickly after entering the World Trade Organisation 2007.

HR managers in Vietnam were becoming more capable, with more Vietnamese people taking leadership positions in HR departments today, he said.

In Vietnam, companies had a more relationship focus and different companies had their own practices.

HR management in Singapore was more standardised across the entire country, and HR practitioners pulled together to share experience and knowledge, he said.

A combination of a relationship focus and standardisation would be better for the HR community in Vietnam, he said.

"The HR community needs to continue to upgrade to be more confident, to earn the seat next to the CEO of an organisation and not see yourself as an administrator only doing transactions," he said.

"I see Vietnam as being in a very similar situation to Singapore many years ago. More and more people enter the HR community because they realize the importance of the HR's contribution to the company.

A few years from now, Vietnam HR community and Singapore HR community could be on par with each other, he said.

To recognise HR people as well as create a platform for HR practitioners to share experience, the Talentnet Corporation and the Labour and Social Affairs newspaper on August 19 launched the Vietnam HR Awards, the first of its kind in the country.

Endorsed by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the awards aim to honour organisations that have achieved overall effectiveness in their HR and people management practices, and have established common codes for measuring HR management, said Tieu Yen Trinh, General Director of Talentnet Corporation.

Based on the professional methods of the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI), the awards also aim to connect enterprise owners and staff through raising awareness about HR's role.

Any business operating in Vietnam for at least three years with a staff of at least 100 people are encouraged to apply for the awards.

Registration is now open until September 19, and awards will be presented in December.-VNA