Rahmat Roslan Hashim, country head of human resources, Malaysia at Standard Chartered Bank identifies the skills and priorities today's HR leaders need to focus on to make sure they are really adding value to their organisations.

How did you get started with HR?

After graduation, I started my career with Source Plus International as a relationship manager where I was involved in compensation and benefits.

In 1991, I joined Matsushita Industrial Corporation as an HR manager and was working in the field with employee relations, workforce planning and human resource development.

After 8 years in HR management, I moved on to Dumex Malaysia as senior manager in the human resource department where I was accountable for the overall human resource functions.

What were some of the projects you worked on in Dumex?

During my tenure, I was involved in the successful implementation of an employee satisfaction programme and led the human resource department towards successful ISO2000 certification.

I also established the research and development centre and implemented a recruitment and training strategy for employing the right people.

I joined Citibank in 2001 as vice president of human resource in the corporate banking division.

I was responsible for the formulation and implementation of its human resource strategies, programmes and services at strategic and operational levels. I also led the execution of several programmes to promote the bank’s guiding principles.

When did you join Standard Chartered Bank?

In 2004, I joined Standard Chartered Bank as country head human resources. My primary responsibilities include managing the country’s human resource strategies and execution as well as overall human resource operations. In 2008, my portfolio was extended to cover Brunei and the Mekong region.

I have successfully built a strong HR team by employing the right people to ensure the division runs more efficiently and effectively. Subsequently, I was tasked to oversee Philippines and Indonesia from 2012 to 2014.

What do you love most about your job?

Being able to interact and communicate with different stakeholders and people, and contributing positively to the organisation.

What do you think are the top HR challenges HR leaders in Malaysia are grappling with?

Mainly, talent retention, scarcity in talent pipeline.

Organisations tend to limit their investment in training, instead choosing the easier option of looking for talent externally and striking a balance between investment in talent development and business needs.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to aspiring HR leaders?

Always go above and beyond what your job description entails, to learn new things and skills. At the same time, network with as many people as you can within the organisation.

How would you summarise the way the HR function works at Standard Chartered?

At Standard Chartered, HR is a strategic function, working hand in hand with the business units to deliver the bank’s objectives.

What’s a typical day at work for you like?

My role as the Country Head Human Resources has evolved rapidly. I oversee all aspects of human resource management, industrial relations and implementation of human capital strategies.

My focus is on creating strong talent pipelines. I pioneered Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia's Banking Apprentice Programme where we signed a memorandum of understanding with local universities to hire fresh graduates straight out of university.

At the end of the day, we are the experts at talent management and we must be able to understand and identify great talent. On top of that, we identify critical positions and the right attributes needed to fill these positions.

I draw on my experience from the entire human resources spectrum, extensive networking and strategic initiatives to guide Standard Chartered Bank to be an employer of choice, drive brand awareness, as well as establish strategic alliances on talent development.

How do you think the HR function will evolve in the next five years?

Fresh graduates starting their careers in HR today will find their job descriptions to be different from those who took on the same position 5 years ago. In the past, HR role was primarily administrative in nature.

The HR function will evolve – HR is a strategic business partner, which is fully engaged with the entire strategy of the business and value-add to it, to ensure employees are trained to align with the organisation’s goals. We must ensure that employees are equipped with skills needed to adapt to business change.

HR professionals must possess good communication skills in order to communicate changes and directions of the organisation. They must be able to understand the aspirations of employees and use that knowledge to bring them to the next level.

Complete the sentence: I cannot imagine HR without…

The H - whereby the success of an organisation can only be achieved through human interaction, engagement and output.