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Jenny Ooi Agilent Technologies wins HR Professional of the Year at Human Resources Excellence Awards 2013
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How to become Malaysia’s next HR Professional of the Year



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“But how do I win?” That’s the big question, isn’t it?

When it comes to awards, everybody wants to get as much information about how to enter and what is expected of them by our judges, so that HR professionals putting forward submissions have their best shot at taking home the trophies.

And this year’s Human Resources Excellence Awards Malaysia is no different. Well, it’s a little bit different – for one, it’s free to enter – and it’s also the second annual HR awards, meaning the competition is likely to be a little tougher.

While we have 20 categories to enter and some succinct guidelines to follow when preparing your entries, the one award which draws a lot of attention is our only award dedicated to an individual rather than a company or HR team – the HR Professional of the Year Award.

Last year’s winner, Jenny Ooi of Agilent Technologies (pictured) won the judges over with her entry and subsequent face-to-face interview with our panel of judges. What did she do?

We spoke to a few of last year’s Malaysia judges, as well as a few judges from our Singapore awards this year, to give you a better idea of what they’re expecting from your entries.

1. Make sure your entry is clear and easy to read

Yeoh Sai Yew, group head of rewards and people services at AirAsia Malaysia, was on last year’s panel for this category, and he said it’s important what you submit is well-organised, easy to read and stands out from the crowd.

“The content must comply with the requirements and guidelines, and the presentation should be clear and straight to the point. The flow of what you say is also very important,” he said. “The achievements you outline should be out of the box and not just part of your normal, daily HR tasks.”

2. Make yourself stand out

This is an award where you are showcasing you level of knowledge, expertise and follow-though as an HR professional, so show the judges you are different from the rest.

“Areas that would make any candidates stands out are the professionalism portrayed, originality and creativity including innovation ability, your level of passion in HR, your ability to articulate a bigger picture and strategic thinking, your level of accomplishments and the know-how to effectively execute them,” said Azaharin Abd Latiff, head of group HR strategy at RHB Banking Group, who was also on year’s judging panel.

“You need to have a passionate HR personality, but possess leadership characteristics.”

3. Demonstrate passion and commitment to HR

Lau Ying Cheng, cluster director human resources & organisation development at Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), who was a judge at this year’s Singapore Human Resources Excellence Awards, said your love for the HR function has to show through.

“The HR Professional of the Year is not just someone who has achieved results for the business; he or she must also be someone that has a deep passion for people and it must show in every aspects of the entry, be it in writing or during the interview,” he said.

Former judge Nael Islam, executive director human resources & OD at Singapore Tourism Board, agrees, adding that you need to show what you do is critical to the business.

“Demonstrate commitment and passion and show that you have been able to bring HR to a different place. Show that your efforts have in fact made the function critical to the organisation’s success.”

Tiffany See, executive director of human resources at Dell Singapore – also a former judge for this category – said you need to demonstrate commitment to HR as well as traits of inspirational leadership.

“I was looking for a HR professional who demonstrated strong functional HR acumen, a level of business acumen, influencing skills and inspiration,” she said.

Other tips?

Nael Islam
“Be succinct – get to the core of the message quickly. We don’t need history on the organisation. Show what the challenges have been in the year in question and what concrete, auditable steps have been taken to overcome those challenges.”

Lau Yin Cheng
“Be sure that you have good track record in terms making a difference to business and its people. More importantly, a presence and way of being that inspire other HR professionals to be who they can be.”

Azaharin Abd Latiff
“Be able to articulate each and every initiative undertaken with documented evidence, effectiveness in planning for successful execution and effort to sustain the momentum of what have been established. Finally, the originality, creativity and ability to strategically linking all initiatives and accomplishment to the main agenda, i.e. why they are doing what they are doing, what approach they have taken and why such approaches, how effective they have executed it.”

Tiffany See
“I would like to see the applicants quantify the impact of their HR strategies and stick to the word count (it is there to provide some level of fairness to everyone!)”

So, do you feel a bit more prepared to get your entries together? Enter here!

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How do you know if your #learning is relevant for the #future?
Find out at the region's largest conference for HR and L&D practitioners, Learning & Development Asia, happening in September.
Register for early-bird savings now.

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