Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
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HRUnplugged: Why the turbulence of the digital world is a golden opportunity for HR leaders

Rina Sarif, General Manager, Talent Acquisition – COE, Group Human Resource, Tenaga Nasional, affirms that HR leaders must use this time to restore confidence, and motivate and inspire their organisations to move forward.

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

A deep understanding about developments in the field of HR management is necessary before localising human resource practices. Success would depend very much on whether the practices introduced would feed the purpose of the business in the specific market. At the end of the day, HR practices must enable the generation of profit, and at the same time, inspire greater employee morale.

Q A lot of staff, especially in manufacturing, are nervous that automation will take away their jobs. How do you tackle these concerns?

Fear not as there will always be opportunities for good performers, as well as for reskilling and placing employees in revenue-generator positions. For those who may be displaced, organisations can arrange for an outplacement programme with expert entities that can provide training in entrepreneurial skills for start-ups or e-commerce.

Q Is there anything you feel HR can do better to play a bigger role in organisations?

HR leaders must be seen as brand icons in providing solutions during disruptive times like these. The turbulence of the digital world is overwhelming and HR leaders must take this golden chance to restore confidence, and motivate and inspire the organisation to move forward by demonstrating bold impact and influence towards the mission.

HR leaders need to dance their way to the next-generation of leadership competencies, while not forgetting to be savvy in social media and technology. It is also crucial to equip themselves with knowledge on the concepts of the future of work in this highly competitive gig economy. So the challenge for HR leaders will be in educating organisational leaders to be open to what the future of work will be like as in the way we work, who does the work, and where it gets done.

To succeed in the future, one should have a synthesising mind that integrates information from various disciplines to make better decisions.

Q What would be your immediate recommendations for the curriculum in education to nurture more employable graduates?

In Malaysia, approximately 400,000 students graduate annually, and many go unemployed upon graduation. Based on my years recruiting fresh grads and delivering career talks at universities, all too often we are giving young people cut-flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.

Years of rote-learning at school gets carried over into universities where graduates leave without sharpening their critical thinking skills, and lose their sense of creativity and curiosity. Add to this the lack of social skills such as English-language proficiency, leadership and working with others, and the graduates’ job prospects dip.

First, they should obtain expert career guidance and choose studies that can result in acquiring skills required in the marketplace. They should also polish their social skills by taking related courses either on campus or off campus.

To succeed in the future, one should have a synthesising mind that integrates information from various disciplines to make better decisions, a creative mind to spark innovation, and a respectful mind that values others’ views and learns from them. And one must also have an ethical mind so as not to engage in dishonourable conduct.

Vital stats: Passionate, poised, and relentlessly methodical, Rina Sarif has won five global awards in the fields of talent acquisition, social media, and HR leadership. Since she has taken on the reins at Tenaga Nasional, the company has seen a renewed emergence in talent brand positioning, for example, in graduate employer rankings, organic followers on social media, digitally led assessment tools, and more.

This interview is a continuation of our CHRO 4.0 special edition where we we introduce you to Human Resources’ Advisory Panel 2019, and pick their brains on the burning questions the function is facing.

Read more here: CHRO 4.0: Decoding the HR skills of the future


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