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Ahmad Fauzi Yahya, regional HR head of Asia, Oceania, Middle East and Africa at Nestlé Professional, shares his view on how HR can win the hearts and minds of staff to optimise and sustain growth.
What was your first HR job and why did you choose HR as a profession?
I already knew during my student days at university that I wanted to be involved in people management. I therefore chose human resources as my major in my university degree.
Growing up, I understood that you needed to have with you a collaborative and engaged team to win.
They have to be motivated, committed and sharing similar common values. With my experience then, I thought that it would be my area of strength and I could succeed in this field. The rest was history.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
As I progressed in my career, I found the role becoming more complex, challenging and interesting.
The demand on HR as a function has very much evolved since the turn of the new millennium, as digital technology has taken the world to a totally new level, where the business landscape as we know it, no longer exists.
We need to go back to the drawing board to re-hatch our game plans on how to win this new game which requires a new mindset and skills set to compete effectively in this new reality.
The role of HR will be to drive this change in the ways of working, while building a new culture to attract, retain the right talent and building future leaders for the new, refreshed organisation.
To deliver the above requires clear vision, passion and commitment on the part of HR to champion this journey with the team forward.
Our role has now been recognised as an intrinsic and integral part of the business and has earned itself a seat at the table. It is now up to us HR professionals to deliver the expectations of our role as the people custodians of the organisation.
Can you describe a regular workday at your company?
Thanks to technology, regional roles like mine are able to function as efficiently and effectively as possible.
My typical day would involve teleconferences, business update meetings and discussions and coaching sessions mainly through Skype and mostly involving country business managers in the various markets. In the situation where my physical presence is required, I also do travel to the various markets.
What is the best career advice you have received?
Just three key phrases: “Follow your passion, have pride in what you do and be proud of who you are.”
This advice helped me to value and prioritise what is important in developing myself as a talent.
How do you think the HR function will evolve in the next five years?
HR is expected to go deeper into people motivations, their learning agility and their belief systems and values.
This is the essence of human beings. They thrive when they have a purpose in life. As leaders, we need to understand what makes people tick to gain peak performance from them as individuals and as a team. We also need to better understand how to win the hearts and minds of our people to optimise and sustain growth.
Is there anything you feel HR can do better to play a bigger role in organisations?
HR needs to do better in leading change in the organisation. We will need to focus on the benefits of the change before enabling, energising and empowering the team to execute.
Our business needs to remain relevant to live up to our raison d’etre of our existence from customers’ or consumers’ perspective.
Our value lies in our ability to influence positive change in our organisation and to be more robust and resilient to weather the storm of the new reality and the future.
The three key elements that are critical for success are trust, believe in the goals and solid undivided support from the top. Along with that we must not forget a crucial part which is communication.