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Shelley Perkins, vice-president of human resources for Asia Pacific at FRHI Hotels & Resorts, expands on why she adores working within the HR function, and how it is set to evolve over time.
You’ve spent more than 20 years in the hospitality industry. What attracted you to this line?
I love hotels, I love the fact there are so many memories created in hotels and we get to share those special moments with the guest.
Did you make a conscious decision to join the HR industry or was it by accident?
Originally, I was on the general manager’s track and on my way to progress within the rooms division.
The birth of my twins prompted me to seek a role within the industry that would be a little less demanding on my time than general management, and which allowed me to work during regular hours.
Hence, I decided to move over to human resources through the training department.
What is the number one HR issue that you’re grappling with at FRHI currently?
Having settled our organisation into the tri-brand structure, we are now working to ensure the many initiatives we have rolled out worldwide through our three brands take root.
Can you describe a regular workday at your company?
It all depends on the department. Hotel operations run 24/7 with many planned events, and many unplanned so the team needs to be ready to anticipate anything.
In human resources, we typically take care of the day to day items related to colleagues which can range from onboarding, training and development, counselling, planning and strategy.
How do you think the HR function will evolve in the next five years?
I believe the use of data will continue to add credibility to decision making. The role of HR will also continue to optimise the performance of the organisation.
Additionally, I believe employee and manager self-service will take root internationally with efficiency that comes with that.
Based on your experience in HR, what can be done to enable HR to contribute better to organisational success?
HR professionals must know the business. We must speak in a language our customers understand.
Which HR function do you like best and why?
I enjoy talent acquisition – understanding that placing the right person in the right role can be life-changing.
What is the best career advice you have received?
The best advice I received was to conduct myself at the level above where I was.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy changing people’s lives and knowing that a great work life is valuable.
What makes the HR role unique to this region?
HR is very exciting in this region as we have incredible growth, exciting new ventures and there is a can-do approach the workforce has.