Kris Herring, director of learning, Asia Pacific at Hyatt International on balancing priorities, change, and personalised learning.
Q. What does a typical work day look like?
A typical day is balancing some of the key priorities of my role. It’s a combination of providing support and assistance to our operating hotels and offices, visiting and engaging with our colleagues who are in pre-opening properties, and then working through tactics to execute on our strategic priorities that add value to the business. We have a flexi-time policy in our office, so when I am in Hong Kong I will always make sure I start earlier in the day so I can spend time with my family in the evening.
Q. What is the most integral part of your job?
Currently, Hyatt is transitioning from a “training” to a “learning” organisation. This requires a change in mindset, practices and approach to how we view learning in our hotels. Other than leading this transition and being a role model for it, I also need to influence our key stakeholders towards aligning with this approach. Change and transition are not easy, so I try to manage this by being empathetic with my business partners, while providing guidance and support to progress Hyatt’s learning agenda in APAC.
Q. Are you working on any interesting projects?
I’m currently working on various general manager development programmes which I find very interesting and engaging. As Hyatt continues to grow, our talent strategies around succession planning need to be forward-thinking to address our future manpower needs. The programmes are a great example of how we are taking a personalised approach to learning. No two people start a learning journey at the same place and the design of these programmes reflects this.
Q. Please share your biggest career challenge and how you overcame it.
My background is actually in food and beverage, so when I moved into HR and learning I was nervous I did not have the relevant credentials. The support I received from my manager and team was very comforting. I also like to get involved as much as I can and contribute, so this helped me transition into the new role quite smoothly. It was then that I realised all leaders in an organisation are actually HR managers. I found I had a lot of transferable skills from my operations background that were relevant in my new role.
Q. What do you find unique about Hong Kong’s HR and learning industry?
Compared with other locations where I have worked in Asia, I feel there is an internationally diverse population of professionals here in Hong Kong. This diversity is a key strength in my opinion. By default, diversity delivers different perspectives, insights and experiences that will be of benefit for our profession.
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