Five Minutes with… Joey Zhang, human resources business partner, Manhattan Associates

by HCA20 Oct 2014
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
To always have a business view of HR management. This means looking inside the business to understand the business needs and future opportunities as well as connections between people, performance, productivity and profit. I also believe one of the keys to HR success is to have business alignment. Consequently, you always need to stay focused on the commercial sensitivities, constraints and challenges of the business.

What are some of the biggest challenges that HR deals with?
One of the biggest challenges has always been getting business leaders/managers to have an insight into how HR can add real value to their own roles. Unless managers can see some direct value and impact on their ‘bottom line’ no matter how ‘state of the art’ or ‘ground breaking’ a particular HR concept may be there will always be an ‘uphill’ battle. The ideal model of business engagement across all aspects of the business is what today’s management is looking for from HR.
In addition, HR also needs to be seen as a leader driving business results equally with management colleagues and peers alike. Further HR professionals today need to play an anticipator role always looking for what might come next, and also need to be able to proactively advise leaders on the probability of their strategies based on available talent. For example HR can use data to predict talent gaps in advance, to provide insights into how talent directly relates to business goals.
 
Another challenge for HR is to be innovative and continue to create value added solutions within the context of the business.

How do you see the role of HR changing in the future?
Whilst there will be a need for HR specialists in larger multinational corporations, the role of HR in the future will require a more business focused generalist HR practitioner that can relate to a wide and varied internal and external stakeholder base. This will include more creative internal practices around employee enrichment and talent growth whilst externally building brand awareness.
The role of HR will also require not only someone that is professional, but has a great passion across all fields, so they can be an aspiring HR leader. I believe a good HR professionals should always have ‘curiosity’, be a great listener, be able to walk in the shoes of the others who are seeking your advice or support, and also be a great business leader – you should know the business just like your clients do.

What’s your favoured style of coffee?
Extra hot cappuccino

If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would that be and why?
I would invite:
1. Ayrton Senna – He is a motor sport legend and his Senna Foundation’ is a great charity that supports underprivileged children;
2. Nelson Mandela – He is an iconic human rights and inspirational leader who made such a difference to the people all around the world;
3. Pete Sampras – Pete is a tennis legend, winning a record 14 Grand Slam titles. He is also a humble person who let his game do all the talking

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in HR, I’d be…
Travelling around the globe discovering all the different corners, life experiences and cultures the world has to offer. 

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