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Snapshot: How DKSH Malaysia’s P&O director knew HR was the best fit for him



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After having spent almost 10 years in the contact centre industry, Lee Yu Chuan, Director, Country People & Organisation, DKSH Malaysia, had been exposed to transformative HR, which propelled him into a career into this people-driven function. 

Q What drew you to HR as a career – was it accidental or passion?

I have a degree in Finance and Accounting coupled with almost 10 years’ contact centre experience. I had started off as a call centre executive and grew in my career to manage a contact centre in one of the top three telecommunication companies in Malaysia.

It was in this role that I had been exposed to a transformative HR, one which was focused on optimising efficiency, effectiveness and having the right HR strategy that integrates the demands of the organisation’s business model with HR processes.

The way this HR was operating was exciting and it propelled the decision for me to change my career path into HR – and here I am ten years later.

Q In your view, what is the one moment that changed the course of your career?

The positive impact that the HR leadership was making to employees in this telecommunications company definitely made me reconsider my career path. Employees were coming in to work motivated, with purpose, and driven to make a contribution that drives the growth of the organisation.

I wanted to be part of a team that drove the same effects in the organisation I was in.

Q What has been your biggest learning from that from your HR interventions?

I believe that my HR journey in DKSH Malaysia has provided me with my biggest learnings in my career. DKSH is a leading market expansion services provider with a focus on Asia. The diversity of businesses within the organization results in us having to propose creative solutions to all people involved as there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

We are always challenged to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to be able to achieve the organisation’s business goals, those that are fit for purpose and continue to motivate our employees who are dedicated to delivering the highest level of service excellence.

HR professionals should look into providing talent-related business solutions to desired business outcomes rather than limit themselves to transactional aspects of the role.

Q Do you believe there is a thing such as a work-life balance?

With the way technology has evolved, I don’t think we really are able to have clear separation between our personal and professional life. Technology has made us available 24/7 and because of this instant connectivity there are no boundaries.

Organisations have implemented telecommuting and flexi hours to cater for needs that vary from working in different time zones to being able to attend your child’s play at school.

I believe in work-life integration since both the personal and professional parts of life of an employee are constantly blending together. Employees are most effective when they are able to focus on the work deliverables without having to worry about missing the parent-teacher session at school or wondering how their unwell parent is coping at home.

Organisations that support this synergy tend to see a more productive and motivated workforce as employees feel valued.

Q With today’s rapidly evolving environment, what do you believe is HR’s #1 responsibility in adding value?

I believe HR evolving into a strategic business partner is definitely a top way to add value. HR has to understand the organisational goals and what goes on in the business to deliver the value proposition the company has for its customers and other stakeholders.

Based on this understanding, HR is then able to put together strategies that are not only aligned to business needs but also aids them in achieving long-term business objectives and maintaining a competitive advantage.

One of the key benefits to this is that HR is able to mitigate costly and disruptive surprises that may interfere in the business achieving their goals.

Q Accordingly, is there a mindset that you believe HR professionals should do away with?

HR has evolved dramatically from a purely administrative function in recent decades. Changing labour market conditions, diverse business needs and rapid technology development call for HR to operate as a business strategy function. Our people are the most valuable asset we have. It is their ideas, initiatives and decisions that drive the organisation.

As such, HR professionals should evolve with the changes and look into providing talent-related business solutions to desired business outcomes rather than limit themselves to transactional aspects of the role. These solutions can be further leveraged by technology which has provided a platform for better analytics to support decision-making capabilities.

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How do you know if your #learning is relevant for the #future?
Find out at the region's largest conference for HR and L&D practitioners, Learning & Development Asia, happening in September.
Register for early-bird savings now.

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