Trailblazers: HR leaders to watch in 2013

Imagine creating a HR function entirely from scratch. Or dealing with staff morale after firing most members of your leadership team for ethical and safety violations. These were some of the challenging circumstances faced by the exceptional HR leaders featured in the following pages.

Finalists of the Robert Walters Award for Best HR Leader at the HRM Awards 2013, each of these 11 individuals stand out for their strategic thinking, business sensitivity and implementation of significant HR initiatives. They are also leaders of organisational improvement and champions of change and innovation.

Based on the interviews conducted for this story, a commonality observed among all of the finalists is their strong conviction in tying HR objectives with the organisation’s business goals. This calls for good data management and analytics. “You can earn a seat at the table if you focus on metrics that impact the business,” says Madan Nagaldinne, HR Director, Facebook Singapore.

Another point of congruence was their open and collaborative leadership styles. “I give my staff as much free rein as they desire and within their capability. And I make it clear to them that as long as they work ethically and professionally, they have my full backing,” says Gloria Chin, Director, HR Division, National Environment Agency.

Read on to find out their thoughts on what areas HR can improve on as well as their hopes and aspirations in the new year.

Finalists at a glance

Name

Designation

Company

Sonia Cargan

Vice President HR – Asia

American Express

Timothy Sebastian

Group Director, HR

A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research)

Geraldine Fraser

HR Director – Asia Pacific

Diageo

Madan Nagaldinne

Head of HR – Asia Pacific

Facebook

Pauline Chua

General Manager – Human/Organisation Resource & Development

Fuji Xerox Singapore

D N Prasad

Director & Head, People Technology
& Operations

Google Asia Pacific

Angela Ryan

Chief Global Talent Officer

GroupM Asia Pacific

Joseph Chu

Director of HR

Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium

Tan Ai Sim

Director of HR – ASEAN

Lenovo

Gloria Chin

HR Director

National Environment Agency (NEA)

Goh Chor Lim

HR Director

Sonoco Asia Management Company

 

Joseph Chu

Director of HR, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium

 

Number of years in HR:

I started my career as an Industrial Relations Officer for three years before embarking on a career in HR. To date, I have accumulated 18 years of experience in HR in the hospitality industry with another three years of experience in industrial relations.

 

Biggest HR challenge that you had to overcome:

Talent attraction and retention i.e. finding the “right” people to do the job. The tightening of employment of foreign workers has made it increasingly difficult to find people. The Hotel has been proactive in the implementation of various productivity initiatives and has yielded pockets of success through innovative ways of working such as automation and the emphasis on hiring of locals to be in line with the changing trends and manpower legislation. We dare not rest on our laurels despite such successes but continue to leverage on our productivity initiatives towards greater successes.

 

What HR can do better:

HR can become a better business partner and assist business to prove that people initiatives have positive and sustainable impact on the company’s bottom line. This can be done by connecting HR measurement to business metrics.

 

Your proudest moment and biggest achievement:

When the Hotel achieved a great employee engagement score of 81.7% for 2011 and was awarded a certificate of Excellence for fabulous employee survey results.

 

Your leadership style:

I am an achiever and set stretch targets for my HR team and I to achieve. I will engage my team regularly through brainstorming and quality meetings to ensure that they are in tune with the targets that I have set out for them. I am a strong believer in a consultative style of management as it ensures that I get the buy-in from my team members for any people initiatives. I know that I can only be as effective as my team members. If I do not coach my team members and show interest and ownership for their personal development, my team members will not see the need to support me to achieve my targets as well.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2013:

My goal is to attract new talents into our fantastic hospitality industry, which has since evolved over time into one with a myriad of specialised functional career opportunities. I would like to continue coaching aspiring individuals to realise their potential in the HR field to become the next generation of outstanding HR leaders.

 

D N Prasad

Director and Head, People Technology & Operations – APAC, Google

 

Number of years in HR:

14 years

 

Biggest HR challenge that you had to overcome:

I believe in looking forward. Having said that, it is important to string together learning from past opportunities and experiences. I hope to continue to play a role and contribute to the People agenda at Google that makes it a great place to work. This is an ongoing challenge that I will look forward.

 

What HR can do better?

I have heard a couple of really respected HR leaders say that the best HR team is one that no one knows about – a team that makes it all happen without fanfare. I cannot agree more. So, in addition to making things happen in a seamless and almost “uneventful” way, the next level of value HR can add is to be a true business partner (as clichéd as it might sound) and help business leaders design their organisations and run their businesses. Towards this, HR leaders and members of the team should really understand how the business works and enable data- driven people decisions. Leadership development and coaching therefore becomes really key. Building and sustaining a strong company culture irrespective of size and geographical spread will be another huge contribution that HR can make to an organisation.

 

Your proudest moment and biggest achievement:

I cherish building teams and functions. Each and every experience in my career so far, where I have contributed to building a team or a new function, however small, whatever geography has made me proud. Three of these opportunities that I fondly remember are:

• The global Entry level and campus relations’ teams that I built and helped grow, in my previous organisation, an Indian IT consulting giant

• The first team I built in Google, a Pan-India team, responsible for Employment Branding and Talent Outreach

• The present team that I have built and oversee in APAC (Singapore) - one of the three global hubs for the People Technology and Operations team, a services and programme management team for People Operations for Google.

Undoubtedly, leading, coaching and mentoring my teammates, helping them achieve their potential and enabling their professional (and, personal) successes are what I consider my biggest achievements.

 

Your leadership style:

Strategic and collaborative, with a fierce focus on execution excellence. As a leader of people, I strongly believe in a coaching and mentoring style of leadership that will help the individual realise their potential. In this role, I believe in offering perspectives, challenging them to think broader and making informed decisions.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Never a dull day at Google! Looking forward to my team and I continue to contribute to the people Agenda and make an impact with our work, in finding, growing and keeping brilliant Googlers!

 

Gloria Chin

HR Director, National Environment Agency (NEA)

 

Number of years in HR:

I have been in HR for almost 20 years.

 

Biggest HR challenge that you had to overcome:

In 2009, I was appointed as HR Director of Jurong Health Services (JHS), a new healthcare cluster. As a HR Director for the group, I had to build the HR function in this cluster. I hired and developed a HR team and worked to put in place all the necessary policies and processes required for an effective and efficient HR system system. At the same time, there was also a tight labour market for healthcare workers. However despite such challenges, we managed to recruit 1,200 staff for this new cluster. In August 2010, JHS successfully took over the management of Alexandra Hospital. It was personally a very challenging time for my team as we worked hard and long hours. I still recall not getting to see my youngest child, who was then three-years-old, for 72 hours despite being in Singapore!

 

What HR can do better:

In a 2012 HR Competency Study, HR experts Dave Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank identified six competencies that HR professionals must demonstrate to be personally effective and positively impact business performance. Of the six competencies, I feel that the hardest competency domain to attain is that of being an effective change champion i.e. the ability to initiate and sustain change at the individual, initiative, and institutional levels. This is also why we have hired psychologists into the NEA HR team to help build up this competency within HR and at NEA’s leadership level.

 

Your proudest moment and biggest achievement:

I chose HR as a career because of the way we are able to impact lives in our areas of work. And a lot of these happy moments happen behind the scenes, unapparent to most people. For instance, in the earlier part of my career, I recommended that we give a second chance to a young officer who was not completely honest in her employment application. She went on to become a committed and high-performing employee in company. I also once counselled a middle-aged employee who lacked the courage to upgrade himself, having left school for many years. He went on to further his studies part-time and eventually took on a bigger role within the organisation. These have been truly rewarding moments for me.

 

Your leadership style:

I give my staff as much free rein as they desire and within their capability. And I make it clear to them that as long as they work ethically and professionally, they have my full backing. I can always trust my staff to do their best because they know that I will stand by them. I believe good leaders are unafraid to be hands-on, and also have the courage to make important and difficult decisions when there is a need.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2013:

The 3,700-strong staff in NEA works tirelessly every day to transform Singapore into a clean, green and livable city. My wish for 2013 is that members of the public will continue to appreciate the hard work done by our employees. As part of the NEA transformation effort, HR will be expected to play a critical role in shaping a culture of excellence amongst our people. As for my HR team, I hope that they enjoy their work and recognise the importance of their contributions in building that professional and motivated workforce for NEA.

 

Pauline Chua

General Manager, Human/Organisation Resource & Development, Fuji Xerox Singapore

 

Number of Years in HR:

20 years in HR Consulting & Corporate HR

 

Biggest HR challenge that you had to overcome:

The biggest HR challenge that I had to overcome was during my time at Wildlife Reserves Singapore. It was a tragic incident where a contract cleaner was mauled by white tigers after entering their exhibit at the Singapore Zoo. Together with my HR team, we were on hand to provide support to our employees including extending our Employee Assistance Scheme to a 24-hour helpline service. We assisted the family and helped out with investigations.

 

What HR can do better:

HR can play a key role in contributing to the change agenda to meet evolving market needs. It helps to be able to demonstrate commercial acumen together with a deep knowledge of the culture and performance of the organisation. I also believe that HR can provide better HR metrics to track our contribution and performance.

 

Your biggest achievement:

Making the successful switch from HR Consulting to Corporate HR 11 years ago. I spearheaded the recruitment and organisation development function at the Sentosa Leisure Group and recruited more than 300 new employees. It was exciting to contribute to Sentosa’s rebranding and transformation into one of Singapore’s foremost and exciting leisure destinations for tourists and locals.

 

Your leadership style:

I think it’s important to really get to know the people you lead well first, what they enjoy about their work, their aspirations and even their family. It makes work so much more enjoyable when rapport is built and you are all working towards a common goal. I have more of a consultative leadership style and often involve my team in key decision making processes; empowering them to lead and drive projects. I leverage on the strengths of my team and get great fulfillment in seeing them grow and take on greater responsibilities.

 

What lies ahead in 2013:

For 2013, I will be focusing on growing our flexible workforce and even greater engagement of our employees. I am looking forward to working in line with contributing to the growth of the business. In Fuji Xerox Singapore, we aim to be a holistic Employer of Choice and focus on building a sustainable organisation that not only does well but does good for its people and the community.

 

Madan Nagaldinne

Head of HR – APAC, Facebook

 

Number of years in HR:

18

 

Biggest HR challenge that you had to overcome:

Guiding leaders on how to lead in APAC – the uniqueness of the region, varied culture and language differences call for a different mindset that leaders need to adopt in order to succeed. A leadership style that works in the West may not necessarily be the right one in APAC, and even within the region one needs to make mindful changes when leading people in APAC. What works for Singapore many not work for Japan, or Korea or India.

While people have gotten quite good leading global teams over the last 20 years, the next decade is about leading locally and harnessing talent and innovation at the local level and making the HQ model eventually less relevant when it comes to products and people. And HR needs to lead this change.

 

What HR can do better:

You can earn a seat at the table if you focus on metrics that impact the business. For this, HR should understand how work gets done in an organisation and how redesigning aspects of this can significantly impact key business metrics around revenue, profitability, innovation, cash flow etc. HR needs to start looking for new organisation models that bust bureaucracy, create strong competitive advantages, create a culture of innovation with small and lean teams and improve effectiveness of managers. HR needs to embrace how social technologies can impact work and organisation. By effectively utilising employee social networks and integrating them with customer, product, engineering networks within and outside organisations, HR can retool how work gets done in the firm and create a strong advantage for the company.

 

Your proudest moment and biggest achievement:

I have had the opportunity to work for a few great companies in my career. Among them, Amazon and Facebook stand out for their strong culture and focus on people – it is central to their success. These firms take a unique approach to people – they lead with their culture and create a great work environment where people want to come to work every day. HR as a function is core to their success and it feels great to be a part of this incredible journey.

As I learn and grow in my career the biggest achievement is no more about this HR intervention, or a new global project etc. What is more important for me is to coach and mentor budding HR leaders both within my current organisation and within my network. I feel a sense of pride when I see some of my direct reports leading HR functions in companies like GE, Amazon, Towers Watson, Hewitt etc

 

Your leadership style:

Collaborative for most part and directive when needed

 

HR in 2013:

This could be the year where we transition from global to local, powered by digital and mobile technologies.

 

Tan Ai Sim

Director of HR, ASEAN, Lenovo

 

Number of years in HR:

18 years

 

Biggest HR challenge that you had to overcome:

Lenovo in the early years of its formation after the IBM acquisition faced many challenges. The business direction and integration of two seemingly different entities translated to a lot of pressures to the HR team at every level. This included basics such as payroll and HRIS accuracy, recruiting as well as attracting and retaining the right fit of candidates. Some of the HR services were performed by outsourced vendors which further tested the team in terms of quality and management. During this period of change, managers and employees would keep HR at arm’s length. The team put a lot of hard work into fixing these fundamentals step by step. It has been a journey for me as I worked together with the team in achieving a more ‘humane’ side to HR, one where people can feel free to walk up and have a chat with us. Today, we are a trusted partner of the business.

 

What HR can do better:

Riding on one of Lenovo›s core values, which is being a pioneer. I think all of HR needs to have this pioneering spirit. Pioneering is not just limited to those who are involved in design or creation. In HR, we can embrace pioneering by asking the right questions, observing the world more and adopting the “outside-in approach”. New Age HR is no longer just about dealing with internal customers. We can do our part by networking for diverse ideas, connecting them and embracing better ways of doing the same thing. When we are able to demonstrate this to our internal stakeholders, we reinforce our value and raise the stakes in a business discussion. We no longer just take instructions and execute on decisions that are made. We are able to participate actively in the discussion to help our leaders better organise and utilise our assets in terms of people and their talents.

We need to be trusted advisors to the business and not merely administrators.

 

Your proudest moment:

My proudest moment was building a cohesive and forward looking HR team valued by the business. Some members of the team came from non-HR backgrounds but today they are subject matter expects in their own area of specialisation. Being able to make that difference in their career and seeing them develop into professional HR practitioners is the greatest achievement in my HR career.

 

 Your leadership style:

Participative, affiliative (people first, build relationship) and coaching. I adopt a combination depending on the aptitude of the employee and the situation or issue at hand.

I also constantly engage in introspection and give the benefit of doubt.

I have benefited richly from the experiences of my previous managers and mentors. I saw in them the deep business acumen and understanding they possessed which added value to the business. This has influenced me in the way I think and lead. I focus on empowering my team to work closely with the managers. I hope that through this experience, they will also see the value of their ‘real work’ and sharpen themselves in their skills whether it be in recruitment, HR operations or training and development etc.

 

Your HR wishlist:

There is a scarcity of good HR talent within South East Asia. I hope to see more senior HR practitioners taking in fresh graduates or those who are keen to pursue a career in HR to help groom and build the talent pool. We need to take the lead to show the new workforce that HR is not about paper shoving but it is a role that can make a real difference in someone’s career and life. Some people think that the point of entry to a HR profession is very low. However, the kind of talent that can go far in the HR profession is one who has both the heart and the mind of customers. It is a person who genuinely wants to do good for people and the organisation, and has the mindset to constantly value-add to the changing demands of the environment and business.

 

Goh Chor Lim

HR Director, Sonoco Asia Management

 

Number of years in HR:

23 years

 

Biggest HR Challenge that you had to overcome:

There have been many lessons in my career but a recent challenge that comes to mind is where the company had to let go of most of the leadership team in a China plant due to ethics and safety violations. This had a major impact on business performance and left a big leadership void. We had considered different approaches including managing timing of departure but decided to take swift action. It sent a clear and unequivocal message to all employees about compliance to our Code of Conduct. We also did employee communications and tightened internal controls. It took many months before business results start to trend in the right direction.

 

What HR can do better:

The HR scene has changed a lot from the days when I first started. The HR function has evolved and more practitioners are partnering with their line leaders to drive initiatives that support business goals, beyond tactical and operational excellence matters. However, I believe we need to better understand the business. This includes understanding the drivers and enablers of good profit and loss results.

 

Your proudest moment:

I get a lot of satisfaction guiding and coaching co-workers through work and career matters. It is fulfilling to see the person develop professionally and move on to take bigger responsibilities. I am still very much in touch with many of my ex-colleagues and we have become good friends.

 

Your leadership style:

My leadership varies depending on the audience and the urgency of matter at hand. As my work requires me to work through people, I typically adopt a participatory style where I engage stakeholders early and solicit their inputs in the decision making process before I make a final decision. When I delegate projects to competent teams, I take a more Laissez-Faire approach where they have the freedom to do their work. I also ensure that they have the resources to do their work and help them to overcome barriers. I conduct regular project reviews and manage based on milestones and scorecards.

 

Your HR wishlist:

This may sound like a cliché but People Build Businesses. Having good leaders in every business and every function is critical. And we do not have enough. My wishlist is to be able to clone good leaders.

 

Angela Ryan

Global Chief Talent Officer, GroupM

 

Number of years in HR:

Seventeen in total, the last six have been with GroupM in Asia Pacific.

 

Biggest HR challenge that you had to overcome:

Creating an HR function literally from scratch, twice now for two different large media organisations. Greenfield sites are wonderful opportunities but I have learnt over the years that you need to be very comfortable with ambiguity and take your job but not yourself seriously. When managers have no context or expectations for HR other than payroll and contracts then everything becomes a change management exercise. The pleasure of looking back though and seeing how effectively the function has transformed outweighs the heavy lifting and sense of humour sorely needed in the first few years.

 

What HR can do better:

Truly own the professional talent management space, too often I read about non-talent/ HR people moving across a business to lead the function. I think as a profession we have to continue to work towards the trusted advisor & partnering model which is hard in many organizations where HR has to do everything and doesn’t always get a chance to shine. A core skill for HR has to be internal communications, not only for the day to day work but to also showcase our contributions and the value we, with our professional expertise bring.

 

Your proudest moment and biggest achievement:

I have two, close to my heart is our annual CSR initiative in APAC called the “Power of One day”, each year 7,000 people across APAC stop work for one day and give back to their community. We have raised over USD$500,000 for some deserving charities but we also physically contribute so our people have built children’s libraries, cleaned beaches and installed water play pumps in Africa amongst other wonderful efforts. In Singapore, through our MediaMasters programme, a graduate programme also open to non-graduates we have hired some fabulous young talent who were unable to complete a tertiary education but have so much to offer.

 

Your leadership style:

My team is here to deliver talent for our media agencies so I simply hire brilliant practitioners, agree their outcomes and then give them the tools, space, trust and encouragement to do their best work. We have an eclectic and creative team who really deliver work we can be proud of.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2013:

2013 will be an interesting year given the macro-economic global environment and will require HR to step up and innovatively future-proof in uncertain times. My team have come up with some terrific initiatives planned for next year including new leadership development programmes and some interesting work in the digital space to enable us to better connect with talent in other industries. I am looking forward to seeing these brought to life.

 

Timothy Sebastian

Group Director, HR, Agency for Science, Technology and Research

 

Number of years in HR:

I have 25 years of work experience both locally and internationally. Thirteen of those years have been in leadership positions in HR-related functions. I have been extremely fortunate to work in two top public sector organisations, namely the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

 

Biggest HR challenge that you had to overcome:

A*STAR has a complex, varied and globally competitive knowledge-driven talent environment. We have over 5,000 employees. They include research scientists and engineers, technologists, research technicians, industry development and commercialisation executives as well corporate staff. There are a large number of international talent from over 50 different nationalities working at A*STAR. The management and development of this diverse range of talent is certainly a challenge, as well as a tremendous privilege.

 

What HR can do better:

HR Departments and HR managers should focus more on the strategic nature of HR and put in place the right culture, systems and processes to reinforce the right behaviors, build up talent pipelines, drive performance, enhanced skills sets and capabilities, develop potential, and plan for succession. HR should recognise the need to go beyond just being people-oriented, and leverage on tools such as data management and HR analytics to better understand trends and emerging issues. This will enable HR Departments to be strategic partners within their organisations and be more pre-emptive rather than reactive to HR issues.

 

Your biggest achievement:

For me, a key role of HR is to build and sustain a talent community for the organisation. I have been fortunate to be in organisations like A*STAR which focuses on talent development. I have been involved in putting in place a comprehensive career development structure at A*STAR that will help to identify, nurture and develop the potential of staff from the early career stage to the point where they can succeed into senior leadership positions. Developing such a system in A*STAR is a truly rewarding experience. I was also involved in the development of a similar career development system at EDB over 12 years ago, and I’m extremely proud to note that a number of the young EDB talent that we’ve nurtured through that system are now holding senior positions within the organisation.

 

Your leadership style:

I focus very much on being performance and outcome driven. Every initiative that we embark on must start with an end in mind, and this end must link up with the broader objectives of A*STAR. In terms of my interaction with my staff, I try to develop each and every one of them as a total HR professional. This means that he or she should not only develop core vertical HR skills, but they should also have a breath of capabilities in terms of HR knowledge and exposure.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2013:

I would like to see the various initiatives that we’ve put in place in A*STAR, such as the career development and succession planning models, core competency training, leadership development framework, HR analytics and the talent recruitment pipelines to name but a few, continue to take shape and grow in 2013. A*STAR will always be a work in progress. We are on a fascinating HR journey and I’m delighted to be asked along for the ride.

 

Sonia Cargan

Vice President HR - Asia, American Express International

 

Number of years in HR:

Hard to believe but my HR career has spanned 20 years

 

Biggest HR challenge that you had to overcome:

I think my biggest HR challenge is one we always need to be conscious of; it’s all about where business growth and talent come together. Specifically, my role as a HR leader is about having a future-focused view of the business and a point of view with respect to how that shapes the talent agenda.

 

What HR can do better:

We have a unique place in any organisation with insights and influence that, when targeted and honed play a pivotal role in business success. I would encourage all HR professionals to leverage this differentiator and play the role of business enabler. We must constantly be asking ourselves, our team our business, how do we use our human capital knowledge to enable the business to address key business objectives? A mentor and coach recently said to me that my role is about ‘changing the course of the river’ and to be courageous in my pursuit of this. I think that’s good advice for many of us.

 

Your proudest moment and biggest achievement:

Having the opportunity to lead the HR team for American Express across South East Asia, Japan and Greater China. The past three years have seen some of my most challenging and professionally fulfilling moments in my career. The chance to work with a very dynamic team in a vibrant part of the world is truly engaging. You learn a lot about the art of your profession when you’re asked to challenge yourself, and deliver results in unfamiliar territory. Working across cultures , seeking to understand a broad spectrum of diverse views, to deliver win -win solutions, may not always be easy, but I have found it extremely rewarding both personally and professionally.

 

Your leadership style:

I like to consider my leadership role as that of a facilitator. Enabling those I work with to meet their aspirations to be the best they can be, and enhancing the leadership effectiveness of those I partner with. You have to leverage many tools in your leadership toolbox to deliver against this. Being prepared to listen, seeking to understand a multitude of perspectives and giving people the space they need to grow. I am by no means a perfect leader, and as Marshall Goldsmith so very eloquently says ‘leadership is a contact sport’, you need to continuously hone your skills, practice and commit to improve.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2013:

I’m feeling very optimistic about 2013. I look forward to the continued evolution of the HR function here in Asia, and driving outstanding employee experiences. We’ve got some great work underway in the space of Talent, Leadership, Learning and Well-being. One example of this is an initiative called ‘Asia Connect’, which is bringing employees together across multiple countries to enhance cross market collaboration and invest in building the knowledge and capabilities, to help further realise the extraordinary potential of our people. Having the chance to influence and shape the agenda which enables our business and employees to achieve their potential, is always something to look forward to.

 

Geraldine Fraser

HR Director – Asia-Pacific, Diageo

 

Years in HR:

22 years

 

Biggest HR challenge had to overcome:

Diageo decided to move to a shared service model about 10 years ago, and this meant establishing a site in Budapest, transferring and hiring employees, developing training and induction interventions, as well as outsourcing components of Intermediate System support. This was a big exercise and shift in our ways of working. I led everything from the industrial relations issues to risk management, the value proposition to outfitting the office. This was a huge challenge as we were working in a new location with no existing network, and needing to hire hundreds of people quickly, train and reward them. Alongside that we wanted to create unique working environment that would make a mark in Budapest, and be sustainable for us in the longer term. We continue to have a shared service centre in Budapest, servicing our global business, and have gone on to win several awards for our employment proposition there.

 

What HR can do better:

Better diagnose people and organisation issues and challenges, leading to more effective solutions. Often HR folk react to what managers want, rather than think about what they really need. HR managers are susceptible to wanting to deliver quickly, and this can compromise the quality of their work and their thinking.

 

Proudest moment:

It was when Diageo created our new region of Asia Pacific in 2006, of which I had worked on the structure and implementation. My biggest achievement is now working within the region with one of the best HR teams I have had the privilege of working with. I say this because we work well together, share ideas, and want each other to be successful. We also experience a lot of change which requires a lot of emotional energy so being there for one another is very important.

 

Your leadership style:

I like my team to manage their work, feel ownership and pride in it and so I tend to act as an escalation point rather than direct what work they should be doing. I provide context and create the environment for their success, and my responsibility is to do this in such a way that they are liberated in their role.

 

In 2013 I’m looking forward to:

Preparing for new HR technology in Diageo (Workday) that will change the way HR interacts with the business. It will be fantastic, and a great opportunity for us in HR to up-weight our capability. We will have better, faster access to people and organisational data. This will give us a stronger feel for the shape, size, cost and shifts in the organisation, and so will our managers. I’m sure this will impact our performance positively and boost the credibility of our HR function.



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