International HR Day special: What HR leaders across the world wish for in the coming years

International HR Day special: What HR leaders across the world wish for in the coming years

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To commemorate this special day, we've put together this special feature to celebrate HR and all the work you do for the workforce - we hope to see your wishes become a reality!

This story is being updated as more inputs are received, so check back often!
With inputs by Lester Tan.

Dear Readers,

Happy International HR Day to you! 

HR has come a long way over the years, playing a pivotal role in any organisation - every single bit of effort you've put in has brought your workforce to where it is today. And this deserves to be recognised and celebrated - not just on a special day like today, but with every milestone your organisation achieves. 

Today is all about you - and in light of this, we at HRO have put together a special feature where we asked you a question: 

What is your #1 wish for HR in the next 2-3 years?

We've enjoyed reading what everyone had to share, and from the bottom of our hearts, truly hope to see each and every one of these wishes become a reality. 

Do enjoy what we've put together below, and we are confident you'll continue to trust us at HRO to be a platform providing a voice for all of you in the HR community.

Warm wishes,
The Human Resources Online team

Ashish Mittal, Head of People Function, Aviva India

ashish mittal head of people function aviva india

"HR, in the past, has been considered a supporting function, but modern HR Teams adopting Technology such as Data science, AI, block chain etc. will be involved in workforce transformation, using analytics to help create the right talent mix and support the organizations to grow exponentially. Transforming a business strategy involves transforming the talent strategy and here the pivotal role of HR comes into picture. In the next two to three years, HR will be instrumental in aligning the organisational culture with flexibility, self-service, stability and sustainability using technology and will start a new Culture Conversation. Our actions will be more meaningful, transparent and data-driven giving the way we run business a new avatar."

Agustina Samara, Chief People and Corporate Strategy Officer, DANA Indonesia

priya mar 2021 dana indonesia agustina samara provided resized lead

"My wish for HR is... HR shall have a greater purpose to build values, and go beyond the role of a recruiter. HR is a partner for the company to pursue its goals by prioritising its employees. Changing the perspective of looking at employees as talent and collaborators for the company, alongwith aligning both values to be on the same path will be HR's priority. Starting with HR to instil that faith regarding the role of employees, companies will then be able to make agile decisions for sustainable business strategy and become employer of choice."

Raman Sidhu, Chief OD & Learning Officer, Global Commercial, Shell


"I wish HR takes a lead in optimally harmonising the organisational mix of talent, digitalisation, OD & learning in driving the organisational energy to a resilient, responsible and planet friendly sustainable growth. We have all experienced a significant business and social disruption in the past 18 months due to the pandemic, HR must continue to work with senior leaders in providing the glue to demonstrate care, support and flexibility in helping its people cope and contribute in these unprecedented times."

Marcela Mihanovich, HR Director GCB Asia & EMEA, Citi, Singapore


"At home we would wish under a train for – love, health and work and bringing this to HR and during these rapidly evolving times is the same.

  • A passion for supporting our teams and the communities we work and live in.
  • Good health for all our teams and families as we hopefully move forward from the pandemic.
  • Continue to strive for excellence and acting as a catalyst to build a better future."

Vishaal Sharma, Head of Human Resources, South East Asia, Aditya Birla Chemicals


"The global HR fraternity should come together and launch a Reskilling/Upskilling exchange wherein people who are substituted by technology (machines replacing humans) learn new skills and become skilled to take on new roles. This would help in reducing discontentment and will help societies and countries to become more harmonious and productive. I would be happy to take this idea further."

Pauline Loo, Senior Vice President Human Resources, Nippon Sanso Holdings Corporation

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"My #1 wish for HR in the next two to three years would be that HR professionals rise above all odds and challenges, to emerge stronger as valued business partners by the business leaders and managers. HR professionals would be able to sustain the organisational capabilities to build more flexible and agile workforce who are productive and can perform well in the face of constant change. HR professionals are excellent facilitators who can enable employee engagement to foster positive collaboration amongst the workforce to solve problems and innovate in ways which matter to the business.

HR professionals are able to think outside the box to reach all stakeholders to help drive continued success of their respective organisations. Last but not least, HR professionals are able to align talent development strategies with those of the business strategies to deliver an more cohesive workplace experience for employees." 

Fong Tuan Chen, Country HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics

ft apr2020 1

"HR needs to strengthen our role as the conscience of the organisation as post pandemic pressure begins to set in. In the face of businesses pushing for revenue rebound, profit recovery, market share recoup, HR must be steadfast in ensuring the moral true north of the organisation is not compromised. My wish is for HR to have the courage and gumption to stay the course and hold the line regardless of how much we are pushed to concede."

Fabi Carino, Country Head, Human Resources, Dentsu International - Philippines

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"I consider HR professionals as the unsung heroes in every organisation and my biggest wish in the next two to three years is for them is to be highly equipped with competencies, resiliency, technology, and agility to withstand the challenging and evolving needs of their leaders and employees. I also hope people at the workforce would realise and understand the value of HR work in every organisation and more be given the seat as a business partner and not just a behind the scenes and support role."

Ralston Vaz, Director Human Resources, Integral Ad Science, India & APAC


"Big data and analytics are ruling the roost across organisations and industries. A lot has been done to understand customers and the basis of their changing preferences, according to which marketers are serving personalised ads, using predictive sciences for inventory management, targeting investments in key areas etc. HR needs to pivot in a similar manner and leverage employee experience data to personalise communication and policies for employee groups to create favourable employee experiences. I'd like to call it creating ‘employee experience intelligence’.

CHROs in forward-looking organisations have moved away from reactive to more proactive ways of functioning, so instead of just focussing on why something has happened, to predicting what could or would happen and figure out ways to make that outcome more favourable for all involved. In my opinion, HR needs to work to bring this to life in the next two to three years."

Noppadol Chaiwong, Human Resources Director, BevChain Logistics

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"It is my wish that our joyful life is healthier. We do not count on the new normal and next normal, but we become strong and stronger by learning from the past, and by understanding and adjusting ourselves for the future. We should believe in turning our reality into happiness. I would say that our foundation is 'Your wish is our wish.'

Let's keep smiling for better days ahead and for the future altogether."

Kate Williams, Director, cultivate

aa kate williams

"The future of work is here, and we need to prepare for constant change. With advancements in technology, the coming years will see HR & talent teams focus on finding the balance between technology and emotional intelligence. As we move toward automation and AI, empathy and the ability to connect and care for others are more important than ever.

HR & talent have well and truly earned a seat at the table and are in the driving seat to shift from cultures from ones that are purely customer-obsessed to a more even balance of employee-obsession, both with an equally positive impact on the company."

Tahirah Manesah Abu Bakar, Consultant, Funktional Solutions


"My wish for HR is to see the academic syllabi for HR degrees be revised to keep up with industry needs so graduates will be work-ready. That, plus more HR experts to be involved in academia to help students get the real picture of working life."

Chua Chia Yei (CY), Co-Founder,

chua chia yei photo

"My #1 wish for HR in the next two-three years is to unlock the immense benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in the HR function, by accelerating AI adoption to catch up with other functions such as marketing, product development, manufacturing, etc."

Reno Rafly, MS Director, Catalyst Global Consulting 


“I wish HR will take the lead in defining how people & AI work together in building collective intelligence that would push businesses and organisations to a new level. As we are rebuilding towards a post-pandemic workplace, we have to be mindful of the hopes and dreams of having a better, brighter, and a more sustainable future of work. We are an integral part of this transformation and it’s time for us to take charge of this journey."  

Monica Divik Agarwal, Regional HR Business Partner and Executive & Leadership Coach

monica divik agarwal

"My wish for HR is to:

  1. Bring back empathy and human connection as part of employee experience amidst all the automation and digitalisation.
  2. Embrace all the tools, technology, and analytics as its disposal to become a credible and well-informed business and workforce advisor.
  3. Act as a catalyst to bring the workforce and the leadership on a common platform in order to create an organisation that succeeds in the marketplace."

Lekha George, Head of People and Communities for ASEAN and Korea at Cisco

priya mar 2021 lekha george cisco jpeg

"At Cisco, our HR function works in lockstep with the business to ensure that our talent management approach enables us to address challenges and opportunities in these uncertain times. I believe that a people-centric and inclusive culture is key in attracting, engaging and retaining employees. Companies need policies and practices that encourage employees to have open conversations with their supervisors about their needs, concerns, and goals. This promotes diversity, prioritises the growth and well-being of employees, and ultimately, contributes to a vibrant technology community and ecosystem."

Aditi Mahadevan Nair, Asia Pacific Head of Talent, Learning and Diversity, Citi

priya mar 2021 aditi citi provided

"Happy International HR Day! I believe this is HR’s moment to lead organisations in navigating the future. I wish we use technology and people analytics to move towards thought-leadership. We have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to provide guidance on the skills and capabilities needed to be successful.
In an age where innovation is prized above all else, embracing all forms of diversity is paramount and the HR function can play a pivotal role in that journey.
I wish good health, great spirits, continued enthusiasm for everyone in the profession as we build the future workforce."

Dawn Yeow, Regional HR Director, Asia, International SOS

ms dawn yeow

"HR leaders and professionals have the ability to shape the future of work, by ushering in a new era of employee-centric work culture. My wish for HR in the next 2-3 years is that we continue to build resilience amongst ourselves and in our organisations – by leveraging new technologies for business growth and productivity, reminding our fellow leaders in the organisation of the ‘human element’ behind new workplace changes, and recognising the importance of leading with empathy and compassion. In doing so, we can push beyond the norms of what defines HR, and inspire a more positive and resilient workplace culture throughout the organisation. This will also help nurture stronger teams that embrace diversity and inclusion, and welcome new challenges with an agile and forward-thinking mindset.
The challenges we have seen throughout the pandemic will likely persist in the years ahead, but a resilient workforce and organisation will stand ever ready to confront them and emerge stronger together."

Photos / Provided

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