Carolynn Ang, experienced regional HR leader, is a huge advocate of technology, and she highly encourages HR leaders to embrace new technologies and try them out.
Q How did you venture into HR? What drew you to it?
It was such a change! I was in awe and admiration when I saw how HR colleagues (then at my first permanent job as a planner) could interact with almost everyone in the company! I was very envious indeed. As a planner then, I usually liaise with a few departments and realised that as a HR professional (we called them personnel in those days), you could work with anyone in the company. That was when I decided that I needed to have a career change. And I have never looked back!
Q What was the most innovative HR campaign that you've worked on, and what was your biggest learning from that?
In my previous role, I had used a business tool (a collaboration sharing tool) for candidates and recruitment agencies for talent acquisition. Subsequently, I led the initiative to expand the platform as part of our onboarding (and pre-onboarding) process and tool. This was done through close collaboration with sales, client service and internal IT colleagues and it proved to be a success.
Candidates, vendors and new hires were very impressed by how the HR team could integrate HR processes leveraging business tools, as such platforms are usually used by external clients only. In return, new hires got to know more about business products faster and through a practical hands-on approach, leading to a very positive candidate (and employee) experience.
My biggest learning from that: Positive employee experience is truly important for the organisation.
Q Having worked across several IT/ITeS companies, what is the most exciting thing about managing talent in this sector?
It is a very dynamic industry! Today, every organisation is talking about how to manage, retain and develop talent – but we have not found the ‘silver bullet’. We may have found some solutions but the field is ever-evolving so HR and leaders must constantly be creative and look ahead.
In the IT and technology industry, talent management is very much aligned with technology transformation. What truly excites me is how we can manage talent using technology whilst adopting an agile methodology in the employee lifecycle from recruitment to leaving the organisation. We are using technology to augment our talent’s expertise and realise their full potential at work, e.g., the use of AI, chatbots, cloud services and VR.
Q Have you had a mentor through your career, and what advice have they shared with you?
I am grateful for every opportunity I have been given so far. In fact, every manager that I have had so far has been my mentor and I have gained so much wisdom from all of them.
One poignant advice that is still deeply ingrained in me is: “I can see that you have the potential and I want to give you an opportunity”. Till date, as a firm believer of this mantra, I am always on the lookout for latent potential in talent, colleagues, or my team members and try to unleash their true potential for greatness.
Q Is there a mindset that HR professionals should do away with?
The fear of using technology. Some HR professionals I have spoken with have shared that the HR function is always the last to embrace new technologies and sadly, this is a stark reality. I am a huge advocate of technology (truly a woman in tech ?) and I would highly encourage HR leaders to embrace new technologies and try them out. Today, every company is a digital business and it is imperative for HR teams to be a proponent of leveraging technological tools which can deliver value to the entire organisation.
Q What should HR directors take note of in order for HR practices to be truly beneficial?
Firstly, HR leaders should always be flexible and agile; innovative practices may sometimes lead to unknown challenges so we should always be quick to respond and correct.
Secondly, use discretion and never force or follow trends blindly; every organisation has its unique proposition and people profiles. Initiatives implemented should not be beneficial to just the HR team or the senior leaders but to all levels of employees across the organisation.
Thirdly, while we stay agile, we should be daring to try and ask, what more can we do differently. Having this growth mindset will both arouse curiosity and enhance creativity.
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