HR in the Hot Seat: Gey Wee Ang, head of HR (global shoe production & sourcing), ECCO

Gey Wee Ang talks about earning trust and respect from managers and the thrill of working in HR

HR in the Hot Seat: Gey Wee Ang, head of HR (global shoe production & sourcing), ECCO

What motivates or excites you the most about your work? 
Working in the HR profession, we need to acknowledge that we are not here to satisfy everyone. The thrill of working as an HR professional is that there is never a dull moment in your course of work. The satisfaction at work comes from getting other stakeholders’ acknowledgement that the advice provided on dealing with human capital management and development is appropriate for the overall people pipeline building agenda.

What has been the biggest HR-related challenge you’ve dealt with in 2016, and how did you navigate that challenge? 
We have heard a lot on what HR needs to do to up their game on HR business partnering. That being said, we need two hands to clap. While getting the HR colleagues to get the fundamentals right for HR business partnering, we also needed the group managers to re-think the role of HR in the organisation. We are in the journey of “re-think, re-skill, re-align” the HR function to strengthen the “management-HR” partnership. 

If there’s one piece of HR-related advice you could give, what would it be? 
The ability to be proactive, to think two steps ahead in anticipation of potential consequences on human capital issue(s) and engage appropriate stakeholders for decision-making is what differentiate a credible HR business partner and an average “HR administrator”.

How do you deal with stakeholders that are sceptical of HR’s role in improving the business?
Trust and respect is to be earned. To earn that, the initial focus is to tackle the low hanging fruits that address the concerns of the key stakeholders. Over time, build in the dialogue with stakeholders guided by business logic. Start with answering the “WHY” on the HR framework/guideline. Connect the dots of the various frameworks/guidelines so that the stakeholders can appreciate the holistic human capital management overview. Maintain a consistent communication theme on “people pipeline building”. It is also important that it is unrealistic to expect total agreement. There will be times where we need to agree to disagree.

How do you achieve work-life balance?
Work-life balance is a matter of personal perspective. I am very much an advocate of “work-life integration”, which I first heard from another senior HR professional earlier in my career. When there is a certain project timeline to meet, time management is key to ensure that critical tasks get to be delivered with priority. At times, we just need to know what is the “must do”, and “good to do” by a certain timeline.

Where’s the best place to go for dinner/drinks in Singapore? Why?
I would choose the R&B outlets along East Coast Park in the evening to chill/unwind. In Singapore, it’s concrete tall buildings everywhere. So, I prefer to enjoy the scenery and sea breeze near by the seaside. 

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