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After two years with Unilever (from 2016 to 2018), global HR director Lim Zhi Rong is exiting the company to pursue new adventures.
In this exclusive, we pick his brains to uncover his treasured moments with the global MNC and his exciting plans ahead at Twitter.
How would you say the experience has been with Unilever these past two years?
My experience with Unilever has been enriching and rewarding. I was a member of both the Global Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) HR Leadership Team and Southeast Asia HR Leadership Team. This dual role in global and regional gave me valuable exposure working on strategic global UFS HR priorities including strategic sale force planning, transforming the business to be digitally ready to engage new customers to enabling diversity and inclusion across the geography clusters.
What would you count as the most memorable HR project you’ve worked on in the past year?
The most memorable HR project that I’ve worked on in the past year would be working closely with the vice president of Southeast Asia UFS to enable our ‘Connected for Growth’ (C4G) business transformation. C4G is a business transformation initiative under which UFS accelerated our penetration in fast growing categories with our customers and markets, evolve our portfolio of the future through innovations and acquisitions, and develop more channels to sell our products to operators.
Through strategic organisational redesign, we optimised the way we invest in our sale team and promoted end-to-end marketing which accelerate decision making process and ensure the business stays agile.
What is your personal HR mantra?
My personal mantra that has guided me well throughout my career is: “Be a better hr business partner by being a sincere hr business partner” – now what do I mean by sincere? A sincere business partner puts the ambition of the company before self. He keeps sincerity as a primary focus in his communication, has the courage to coach and tell business leaders to hold an enterprise-wide view on people matters.
The paradoxical mix of ‘courage and sincerity’ enables HR business partners to deliver valid and sometimes unpopular advice to stakeholders without sounding presumptuously rude, because they know you have only the business’ best interests in mind.
On that note, what excites you most for your next assignment with Twitter?
I will be joining Twitter as their head of human resources, Asia Pacific and will report to the global vice president of HR at Twitter, San Francisco.
I am most excited about learning everything about the consumer technology industry, after over 10 years of career in HR across industries in the financial (with Temasek Holdings), oil and gas (with Linde Group) and FMCG (with Unilever).
One of my top priorities would be to ensure I continue to advance Twitter’s institutional purpose internally with our people and externally with our users : “To give everyone in the world the power to create and share ideas, without barriers”. This is important because we now know companies with purpose last, brands with purpose grows, people with purpose thrives!
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