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The DNA of success for leaders in a digital world: Microsoft Thailand’s HR head

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Nadya Oenara asks Chutima Sribumrungsart, Deputy Managing Director – Human Resources, Microsoft (Thailand) all we need to know about leaders requiring to be open to learning, listening to new ideas, accepting risk, having courage to share failures, and more.

Q What is the mindset that leaders require in order to actually succeed in a digital world? And what’s HR role here?

The success DNA in a digital world consists of speed, agility and intelligence. These three are critical for all members in the organisation and require leaders to exhibit attributes that set the tone from the top, and mindsets that support real change.

A growth mindset has become a key characteristic of the digital era. Leaders are required to be open to learning, listen to new idea, accept risks, have courage to share failures, give others the opportunity to try new things, and have high empathy towards their teams.

With the expectation for leaders to transform their mindsets, HR has the opportunity to support leaders in identifying the required behaviours, shaping and developing these new behaviours, provide coaching, sharing feedback, and be a bouncing board for leader.

Not only in supporting leaders, HR also has a role to play in acting as the orchestrator in the organisation to connect teams together, ensuring that change happen across the board and aligns with company strategies.

Q How strongly do you find organisations tailoring their HR policies and systems to localised needs?

Based on my experiences and observation, I see HR policies being gradually modernised in response to the changes in business expectations, employee profile and value proposition.

The speed of change depends on each industry. I found multinational or international companies taking a more structural approach and most likely customising their policies to local requirements, both from a statutory as well as cultural context.

What really makes this effort successful is when the organisation has a clear vision and strategies for its organisation & people management function, which will translate into the right policies that align to support the business.

Especially in tough situations, challenges provide me a chance to learn, experiment and develop new solutions to help the organisation.

Q What is the biggest motivation that keeps you going when things get tough in your role?

My personal principle is ‘everything is possible’, and my positive energy is driven from seeing positive outcomes in helping others succeed. Therefore when I face challenges, I see them as opportunities. Especially in tough situations, these provide me a chance to learn, experiment and develop new solutions to help the organisation.

Most importantly, I don’t take such things personally. I focus more on the context of the challenge and work things out from there. I make sure to reflect on the learning and appreciate the impact of contribution, and of course, take out time to enjoy and smell the roses. 😊

Q In your experience, what is the biggest talent challenge Thailand is facing, and how are you tackling that?

Digital transformation, skill economy, changing lifestyles, expectations from organisations, and shortage of digital talents are all challenges in the area of talent. These lead to business challenges in terms of ensuring continuity, ability to grow at desired speed, optimising productivity and delivering great results to investors.

It is important for each organisation to first understand that the talent agenda is a business agenda, and not an HR agenda. It requires business leaders to own and drive this agenda by partnering with HR.

In my experience, a simple proven rule of success is how we can engage with the business and hold business leaders accountable in driving the talent agenda as one of the business rhythms.

Setting expectations, defining ownership and expected deliverables on talent topics through acquisition, managing, developing, engaging and retaining – our role in HR is to enable people leader skills for all people managers in the organisation and empower them to own their talent pools.

HR needs to reform how we drive the talent agenda in the organisation through the disruption that is happening now.

Q What can HR do to better support and add value to the organisation?

HR in the disruptive world plays the pivotal role of partnering with business leaders to enable organisation transformation and cope with rapid changes.

Our role, capability and expectations from the organisation are also being disrupted and we require significant transformation to lead the organisation and people agenda. The HR world of back-office support no longer exists and we have to shape our ways to deliver the HR function in a more strategic way, this identifying business impact through HR methodology and deliverables.

Critical to success in making an impact through our function lies in how we shift from HR-centric to business-centric. HR professionals are required to reskill towards high-capability business acumen, envisioning, systematic & analytical thinking, stakeholder engagement, and storytelling. These are all critical capabilities to enable our role to create value to the organisation and people.

Our success is, and will be, defined by business impact as well as customer (both internal and external) experience, which will be driven by all HR core services that align to business strategies.

It is my honour to provide my viewpoint as a judge to all applicants and also learn how the HR function in Thailand has developed and transformed to become a critical function in each organisation.

Q For you, what is the most exciting thing about being a judge at the first-ever HR Excellence Awards, Thailand 2020?

First of all, I would like to express my sincere thank you to Human Resources Online for this opportunity.

It is my honour to provide my viewpoint as a judge to all applicants and also learn how the HR function in Thailand has developed and transformed to become a critical function in each organisation. I also believe this award will inspire our HR professionals to continue to add value to each organisation’s success.

Q Reveal to us the one thing you will look for in a winning entry submission by our participants.

My scoring will be based on the impact of the story from the participants. For me, the ‘how’ is more important than the ‘what’.


It’s time to showcase your HR excellence at the debut HR Excellence Awards in Thailand, to be held on 5 June at Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok. Enter the awards and get started on your entry submissions as the entry deadline is on 30 March 2020.

Feel free to reach out to our Project Managers,
Renamel Torres, renamelt@humanresourcesonline.net, and
Reggie Ola, reggieo@humanresourcesonline.net
or call them at + 65 64230329 for assistance in submitting your entries.

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