Sean Ng, vice-president of human resource and compliance at Asia Assistance Network (M) Sdn Bhd, talks her career, her favourite HR function and where she sees HR in Malaysia in the future.
How did you get into the HR industry? Why did you choose HR?
I took on the HR portfolio of my company in early 2012 because it was operationally spiralling out of control. My task was to stabilise it and put together a team to manage the day-to-day operations. By then I had had three years of experience in general management and more than 10 years in operations planning, so I was ready to try out HR.
If you weren’t in HR what do you think you’d be doing?
I believe it would be something related to process improvement.
Which HR function do you like best?
I notice that in HR I need to balance the interests of the employer and employee … being a mediator is not easy at all. The situations normally have to do with confl ict of opinions, an expectations mismatch or miscommunication. However, I am most satisfi ed when we are able to reach a win-win outcome so mediation/facilitation is certainly my favourite function.
What do you think is the most interesting issue in HR right now?
Employer branding. I think this is the direction to attract the right people to work for us. Branding helps us identify with the employer. If there is a matched understanding between employer and employee in values and goals, the working relationship will be satisfactory and fruitful for both parties.
What will the role of HR be in 5 years?
I think this pretty much depends on how individual employers choose to evolve with the changing business environment. HR will have to play
whatever role the business owners want it to.
What is your favourite virtue in an employee?
What’s your morning routine like? How do you power through the day?
I like to get up early at 6am, take my time to get ready and do some reading – I am currently re-reading Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I also have a good breakfast of wheatmeal bread with butter and honey lemon, fresh fruit and vegetable juice, and soya milk with oat bran.
How do you unwind and de-stress?
At the moment, I watch MasterChef Australia. It is very relaxing.
I can’t work without… hot delicious coffee.