Learning & Development Asia 2024
Winning Secrets: PETRONAS Lubricants International's adaptive strategies to achieve hiring excellence

Winning Secrets: PETRONAS Lubricants International's adaptive strategies to achieve hiring excellence

Doing so would mean tackling challenges such as increased competition, skill gaps, and virtual onboarding complexities, Fizz Sulaiman, Talent Acquisition Leader, points out.

Established in 2008, PETRONAS Lubricants International (PLI) manufactures and markets a full range of high-quality automotive and industrial lubricants products in over 100 markets globally.

PLI is the technical resource behind PETRONAS’ Technical Partnership to the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, and is responsible for the design, development and delivery of the Fluid Technology Solutions™ — with customised lubricants, fuel and transmission fluids to power the Silver Arrows.

At the 11th edition of the HR Excellence Awards, Malaysia (2023), PLI emerged as finalists in the following awards:

  • 'Excellence in Employer Branding'
  • ‘Excellence in Talent Acquisition'
  • ‘Excellence in Use of HR Tech’

HRO catches up with Fizz Sulaiman, Talent Acquisition Leader, PETRONAS Lubricants International, who shares his views on promoting a hybrid working mode to accommodate the evolving expectations around where and how work gets done, and more.

Q. Congratulations on your top performance at the HR Excellence Awards! How has your HR and people strategy contributed to your success this year?

One of our HR strategies this year focuses on operational excellence – and through this recruiting function, we embark on streamlining processes, optimizing efficiency, and ensuring high-quality outcomes. By using a holistic attract-and-retain approach, it can launch improved efficiencies in the core recruiting process and reduction in hiring cost. From here, we take the lead to invest in our open roles by refining the visibility and expand our reach to relevant talents; while we heighten our employer presence and career pages with a focus on promoting priority roles to entice and secure quality hires.

Apart from these, adopting flexibility, agility, and a strategic focus on people are also part of the key drivers of our overall HR success in the evolving landscape.

Q. Looking back at your achievements, what aspect of your HR initiatives are you most proud of and why?

PLI is about 13 years old, and we relied heavily on head-hunters in the early days of recruitment. We made the bold move to proactively work on an in-house resourcing initiative using LinkedIn while TA Team was only manned by only two specialists for a global company, and we proved that this investment has led to a significant reduction in our recruiting cost and an increase in fill-up effectiveness.

About 80% of our global vacancies are filled through LinkedIn Talent Hub, and simultaneously we strengthen our employer brand globally there – showcasing our technologies, our people, and our culture through-the-line. We have also leveraged social media to launch cross-continent campaigns such as the Graduate Development Program, Youth Outreach and Talent Connect, Leaders-in-Training and F1 Trackside Fluid Engineer.

Q During your HR journey, what were some significant obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them to achieve excellence?

The post-COVID era presents several challenges in recruiting talent. Remote work normalisation has widened the talent pool, but it also brings obstacles such as increased competition, skill gaps, and virtual onboarding complexities.

The post-COVID era presents several challenges in recruiting talent. Remote work normalisation has widened the talent pool, but it also brings obstacles such as increased competition, skill gaps, and virtual onboarding complexities.

By addressing these barriers and implementing adaptive strategies, we can navigate the hiring landscape successfully and achieve hiring excellence. Overcoming these challenges involves adapting vamped-up strategies which involve leveraging recruitment technologies available on LinkedIn, maintaining flexibility in hiring plans, developing a comprehensive virtual onboarding process, as well as enhancing employer branding to stand out in the eye of the prospective employees.

In addition, HR will always play a pivotal role in fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces, ensuring fair hiring practices, and promoting equal opportunities for all employees too.

Q. How does your organisation measure the success and impact of your HR initiatives?

A Focused Feedback session with the leaders helps us HR to gather feedback from their business lenses as we cope with the dramatic ups-and-downs of talent supply-vs-demand in this competitive market. Using the framework of amalgam recruiting solutions, we followed through the approach of Multi-sourcing Matrix, assessing various KPIs to gauge the effectiveness of our hiring excellence, including Time-to-Fill, Cost-per-Hire, quality of hire, sourcing effectiveness, as well as closure rate. Regularly reviewing and analyzing these metrics will provide better insights in overall success of our recruitment efforts from year to year.

This approach has been wholly adapted and incorporated during the challenging times of COVID until today as we have seen changes in how the business is operated, and how the organization is designed to suit the current workforce pace and demands.

Q. In what direction do you see the HR/people function evolving in the future, considering the emerging trends?

The future of HR is shaped by emerging trends especially post-pandemic and the assimilation of Gen-Z into the workforce. At PLI, we promote smart-working culture and flexible arrangement at work while incorporating digital collaboration tools and employee well-being programs to accommodate evolving expectations around where and how work gets done. As we have moved into a hybrid mode for the best, Technology Integration and Data Analytics become integral to HR function to measure the impact of HR initiatives, predict workforce trends, and inform strategic decision-making.

The TA Strategy Expansion for the future may involve re-developing Talent Mapping for Industrial using LinkedIn Talent Insights, a more sophisticated approach to discover hidden gems via LinkedIn Media. As we are investing on LinkedIn tech-tool to realize our TA strategy, we aim to be the champion in Recruitment and Employer Branding again, consistently being recognized globally in the coming years.


Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!


Lead image / Provided

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