HR is my ‘true north’

Head of HR at TCS talks about HR digitisation, engagement and achieving respect

HR is my ‘true north’

Dwen Hwee may have studied engineering and marketing at university, but she knew she didn’t want to pursue either of those careers.

“I had no idea exactly what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to work in an organisation where I know everyone, or at least know everyone to some extent, so that became my true north,” she said.

When she secured a job as an HR assistant, Hwee knew HR was the career she wanted to pursue. That meant asking, “What are the differences I can make within organisations and what else can I leverage from our employees to contribute to society?

Home is my first family and organisation is my second family,” said Hwee.

Now a 20-year stalwart of the industry, Hwee has held positions within HR at big names like Siemens, Samsung and Shell, and she’s currently the head of HR at Tata Consultancy Services in Singapore where she’s responsible for the organisation’s 1400 employees across the Singapore.

Fortunately, digitisation has enhanced the HR function.

“The whole spectrum of HR is entwined with technology, where in the past a lot of things were done manually, now, many of our processes have been digitised and that has positively enhanced the HR function because now we have the bandwidth to focus on real engagement with our people,” said Hwee.

Engagement with purpose

At TCS they call it “Engagement with Purpose,” where they use a structured approach to engage employees as holistically as possible. The underlying behavioural aspects are outlined as “Agility, Hunger, and Pride” – having pride in the organisation, the hunger to grow, and the agility to be agile.

Beneath those key pillars lie seven key focus areas – “know my TCS,” “living my values,” social collaboration, “build my career,” health and wellbeing, lifelong learning, “serve my community.”

“It’s about owning their career, continuous learning and strive for improvements, living your values, knowing what TCS embodies as an organisation, and giving back to society,” said Hwee.

The 153-year-old organisation has been giving back to society for some time; TCS donates 66% of their equity to philanthropic organisations all over the world. “We have to live our values in organisations, this is what keeps us strong and going as an organisation,” says Hwee.

In order to achieve respect, you need to show results,” said the HR leader.

“It’s not about being defensive, it’s really about results and when people see consistencies in the results, they respect you. As long as you give it your best, keep pushing yourself to the limit, and keep doing what you think is the right thing, people will respect who you are.

At the end of my life, I don’t wish for money or getting to the top of the corporate ladder; it’s really about what is the positive impact I have left on my people.”

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