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Snapshot: How Omega’s Rachel Poon manages the Millennials



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Rachel Poon, HR business partner, Swatch Group — Omega division, dives into the world of Millennials, in this interview with Samantha Chan.

With an academic background in fine arts, how did you get started in human resources?
I wasn’t involved in human resources early on. I studied in the United States and after graduation, I spent years in customer service until I was recommended by my former employer to take on a human resources role because of my people-centric mindset. To me, human resources is not that different from customer service. The end users are indeed different, but the spirit to serve others is the same, and communication is the key to success.

How do you manage employees, especially Millennials?
My approach is tracing back to who these employees or Millennials are: human. And acknowledge and celebrate that humans are distinctly different and complex.

Recently, I was enlightened by a viral advertisement which goes: Life is short. Smile when you still have _________. During an onboarding session, I asked employees to fill in the blank on a piece of paper and put that in a box. Each of them was invited to randomly pick one from the box and read it aloud. Comparing with the suggested answer ‘teeth’, employees’ interpretation of the crucial element of happiness reflected their rational or creative side.

Through this activity, not only did they understand every person might have different perspectives on the same thing, they also realised the reason they found the activity interesting was the answers were unique.

Ironically, the difference is usually the first thing many people spot about the Millennial. But instead of embracing the difference, they magnify it. In fact, there are a lot more similarities between them.

What is the first step towards building a strong interpersonal relationship within the team?
Respect is key. I build relationships based on trust, and winning the trust of others takes a lot of time. I tell myself to be patient, objective and neutral. I start by letting others know the benefits of the task and displaying how it can be a win-win situation.

How do you work with the management team on new ideas?
I act as a mediator between the brand manager and the group’s head of human resources. Staying unbiased is crucial. I present them with facts about the current situation, followed by weighing the pros and cons, and showing them the bigger picture such as the downside of staying the same.

What is your career goal?
I want to influence and rouse people to be their better selves. I believe every person has a designated role or mission in his or her life. Instead of being in the spotlight, my task is to be supportive.



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