The One-Minute Interview
Could you share with us some interesting highlights of your job?
I am involved in the full spectrum of HR functions in the organization. Some of the functions included are recruitment and retention, compensation and benefits, counseling and disciplinary actions, diversity and inclusion, hr policies and practices, performance assessment, staff exit interviews, staff communication, talent mobility, welfare and workplace health and safety.
Working with various people at all levels, I got to see the good, bad and ugly side of all from top management to junior level.
In the organization, we have an open door policy for staff to come and see HR or top management. Some would approach me at the start of a work day whilst others after dust (for fear of being seen by others) and they would pour their grievances and cry their heart out. Some nervous ones took to nail biting to relieve stress whilst another covered her face until she became unrecognizable! There is no one size fits all solution to the issues and problems. I would share my secret recipe to help resolve them : a heapful of listening ear, a box of tissues to dry their tears, two spoonfuls of sympathy and patience, a sprinkling of humour and suggestions and a drop of firmness or discipline (optional - depending on the situation).
Like the role of a mother, my winning formula is dishing out little treats like a bar of chocolate or mint, stress ball to help sooth their nerves in a pressurised environment!
What makes your organization a great place to work in?
At Grant Thornton our global values C-L-E-A-R-R reflect the very essence of work experience and we in turn promise to our clients. We strive to articulate this through our theme: ‘Every day I make a difference’.
We have a friendly culture like a big family at the workplace where management and staff work closely with one another. This has been echoed by many that colleagues are indeed very helpful, friendly and individuals have benefitted much from one-on-one guidance being nurtured by their supervisors.
Rewards are tailored to fit indviduals as we are a mid-tier size firm where we adopt flexibility to suit the needs of the better performers.
Although diverse, we try to build an inclusive workplace as we encourage participation at every level.
What is the one trait you have which has led to your success?
I would name 3 : Passion, perseverance and sincerity.
Passion drives what you aims to do and urges you to strive towards the end result.
Rome was not built in a day, so when you persevere, you will see the progress you make through the months and years.
In building a relationship with people, when you are sincere in what you do, you gain their trust and confidence. People will rely on you for help.
These qualities have helped me build my career and keep me going and I could see the progress I made and contribute towards people and the organization over the years.
Could you share what your management style is like?
I adopt an open style in sharing my thoughts and experiences in helping staff to look at the big picture as well as listening to their views. In learning to understand each individual and their personality, we harness their strength to bring out the best in people. My team is encouraged to put forth their suggestions and problem solve to accomplish the goals. This helps improve their skills and foster teamwork.
I try to lead by example by demonstrating the behavior and show others that the reality of the working world is something that they have to exercise agility and learn to adapt.
With an unpredictable global economy this year which would have an impact on Singapore, should businesses be more cautious in hiring or will it be an opportunity to hire good talent who may be available for employment?
For the firm, we are constantly on the lookout for talent irregardless of good times or bad times. With our global branding, this has helped to position ourselves as a niche for prospective talent to fit into the culture.
It is good opportunity indeed to be selective in hiring good talent and talent that fits well into the organization and renew ourselves by injecting new blood as well.
How do you spot potential leaders and what does your organization do to groom them?
Staff performance assessment is one of the criterion. In a mid-size tier firm where there is close interaction between staff, manager and partner, it is easier to identify the high performers. Opportunities are given to staff on experiential learning and ability to take difficult bold decisions. We place emphasis on understanding and deploying appropriate style and identify and nurture essential qualities of leadership like as integrity, empathy, having a good emotional quotient and have a deep respect for all.
The organization has varied programmes as part of employee development. High potentials are identified and sent for leadership training within the organization globally. They are given opportunities for secondment exposures within our offices at Grant Thornton.
And finally, with such a demanding schedule, how do you manage balancing work and family? What advice can you offer?
Discipline and good time management play an important part. I would normally plan and work ahead of what’s important that needs to be done and devote my weekends with my family, friends, social activities or hobbies. This helps to energise me and renew my strength for another working week.
It is important for one to be well physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially. To do so, one must manage and live well to cope well and be happy.