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Balan Krishnan, Asia HR director of the programmable solutions group, at Intel Corporation, predicts HR evolving into a function that will have more science coupled with arts.
Q. Where was your first job and what did you learn from there?
My first job was in Intel Penang in 1997. I started out as a production superintendent (sounds far more important than production supervisor).
In this role I learned the basics of managing people and the importance of key performance indicators. I also learned about how powerful inspirational leadership can be.
Q. What about HR – what steered you in this line – by design or accident?
It was by design. After working in production for three years, as part of my career development I was asked to become an HR business partner for operations. The plan then was to have me rotate back into operations as more well rounded manager.
I did not return to operations until a good five years later.
Q. What is the number one HR issue that you’re grappling with currently?
Talent acquisition and talent management. With the right talent, there is so much we can undertake in our operations in Malaysia.
Q. Can you describe a regular workday at your company?
A regular workday for me comprises morning meetings with my counterparts in US followed by meetings with business leaders in Malaysia, China, Japan, etc. I also regularly huddle with my team in Asia to align on weekly priorities.
Q. How do you think the HR function will evolve in the next five years?
HR will evolve into a function that will have more science coupled with arts. What I mean is with the rise in analytics, HR will evolve into a more analytical profession. We will evolve into professionals who will be able to read, analyse and synthesise data and trends.
Q. Based on your experience in HR, what can be done to enable HR to contribute better to organisational success?
I know this sounds corny but honestly, I would say HR practitioners will need to be more curious about the organisations we support.
Q. Which HR function do you like best and why?
Wow… I would have to say talent acquisition just because I love the thrill of the chase. Maybe due to my personality.
Q. Then what do you enjoy most about your work?
The ability to quantify and qualify the value of HR strategies to the business.
Q. What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Staff is your weakness. I always do that. I have a very diverse team of people who are different from me.
Q. Having worked across Malaysia and Vietnam, what is unique about HR in the Asia region?
Actually in my current role, my team and I provide support in 13 different countries across Asia. The uniqueness about the HR role in Asia is that the common denominators remain, talent management, leadership development and employee development.