We chat to the vice president of HR for APJ at EMC about being relevant to the business, taking every opportunity, and HR policies in one of Asia’s top workplaces
I’m the vice president of human resources for EMC’s Asia-Pacific and Japan region. After having a career in HR for several years at EMC, I was primarily working in the United States. I had a short stint outside the US about 12 years ago. About three years ago I was asked to move to Asia and work with the HR team here. I had always wanted to live and work in another country so it was just a great opportunity to be a part of EMC and get involved in the HR organisation in its different regions. Now having been with the company for 16 years, it’s been great to have an impact on the organisation and work with the teams in Asia.
What motivates or excites you the most about your current position?
In my current position, I have the opportunity to work with great people every day. At EMC, being in HR means you have the opportunity to impact people and culture. The fact that I get to work on an agenda that’s all about creating an environment that allows people to do what they’re good at and to maximise their full potential – that excites me.
What will be HR’s biggest challenges for the coming year?
I think all HR professionals are challenged with building the next generation of leadership talent and innovators especially in Asia where great talent is in high demand. For multinational companies, HR professionals need to be able to compete with domestic employers more than we had to eight years ago.
I also think that HR professionals have a challenge and an opportunity to leverage data and predictive analytics in new ways. HR’s come a long way and to earn and maintain a seat at the table, we need to be relevant to the business not just in the programs we implement but also in the facts and results and the way that we present those results to our internal stakeholders. Part of being relevant is dependent on our ability to articulate the impact that our people agenda has on business outcomes, employee retention and overall productivity.
If you had one piece of HR advice to offer, what would it be?
My advice to anyone who’s aspiring to be in an HR career or in a leadership career: Regardless of what the field is, we all need to be able to demonstrate the ability to work effectively as a team, communicate openly, and drive for shared results. In HR, there’s a lot of great work that our teams do and that HR professionals do on a daily basis. But being able to take a back seat and stay in a consulting role and allow others to take the recognition is pretty important.
I also believe that every interaction is an opportunity regardless of what field you’re in. You never know who your next customer, partner, manager or direct report will be in the future. I think treating your engagements with others in that way can only lead you in the right direction.
How did your HR team help EMC become one of Asia’s Best Workplaces?
The APJ EMC HR team, in very close partnership with EMC leaders and employees, really puts a strong focus on enabling our groups to define what EMC means to them whether this is defining our culture, how they develop themselves, or how they give back in their communities. While the HR team puts a lot of programs and initiatives together to help enable a great work culture and engage people, it’s really the engagement of our leaders and employees across Asia that defines the culture.
Our HR team encourages a variety of initiatives that focus on diversity & inclusion, people development, and enabling a strong, positive culture overall based on what the needs and feedback of employees are in each of our geographies and countries. The HR team does a really good job of working with leaders to make sure that they comprehend the feedback and turn that into action plans that result in visible signs of progress for our employees.
Now you’ve won that award, what are your plans for the future?
We’re honoured to have received the recognition but we’re not done yet. We plan to continue our focus, engage all of our EMC members and define EMC. Our CEO talks all the time about how we’re not just a technology company; we’re a people company that’s in the technology business. I think that’s an attitude and sentiment that trickles out through our entire population. We’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing – it’s a journey for us. It’s nice that we were recognised as the number four place to work in Asia but that number is not as important to us as the continued focus on listening to our employees, getting them involved and defining the culture of trust.
Image: EMC's HR team receiving their award