11th HR Leaders Asia 2022: Dr Jessica Tang on the most important thing she learned on her student days

Dr Jessica Tang is now the Deputy General Manager, Group HR of Top Glove, the largest glove manufacturing company in the world. She was awarded the HR Manager of the Year by HRD Awards Asia in 2021 and her passion is developing people – coaching and creating indelible experiences for her employees. 

Even her student days were a prime moment for her, holding a doctorate in Educational Management, Planning and Policy, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science (Statistics) and Bachelor of Science Mathematics. For Jessica, the most important thing during her youth is dealing with people and now she has developed and manifested her skill in her current career. “So my current job is developing talent for Top Glove. It focuses on mainly developing and managing talent. And, because of my background, my HR experience, I have work experience with higher education with my previous university.” That being said, Dr. Jessica has been in the professional field for about 30 years. Being in that sphere for a long time, there is no doubt that she has faced a lot of challenges as the years went by. Mainly, we’re living in a modernized world, new seasons embody new obstacles. Today’s leaders are mostly not spared from those challenges. When asked what is the biggest challenge today’s leaders face, Dr. Jessica related it to her career experience. “As HR, we are focused mainly on establishing and implementing HR efforts that effectively communicate and support the company’s mission and strategic vision. We develop HR plans, strategies to support the achievement of the overall business operations objective. Basically, we are dealing with all the human issues.” Their team also establish a sound plan of management succession which is also Dr. Jessica’s core area where she works on succession planning for the company. Their team needs to make sure that the company has enough talent pipeline for the company – to ensure that those critical positions have talent, ready to take over when someone vacates those significant roles which reveals Dr. Jessica’s closest thing to her heart – developing a comprehensive strategic learning and development plans to meet the human capital needs of the organization’s strategic goals. 

We can definitely witness her dedication in the HR industry by just looking at the Deputy General Manager’s posts online. It seems that she has fun connecting and engaging with her employees. It appears that she cultivates a positive work environment for them. “As an HR leader, we must be positive and we must walk the talk. If we say that we want to cultivate a positive environment, the first step is to actually start with ourselves.” Dr. Jessica usually portrays herself as the role model. Therefore, it’s like taking the first step in creating the positive vibes for the people in the company, according to her. Her dedication and confidence certainly paid off when she was awarded by HRD Awards Asia as “HR Manager of the Year 2021”. The Top Glove’s Group HR reflected on what she felt during the remarkable moment. “I believe the awards don’t come easy. I always believe that hard work must come with quality work. The recognition comes because of the transformation, in terms of how we do things. The positive mindset and vibes that we have, within my own team, they’re very important for me. Being an HR leader, we must cultivate that”. Implementing a positive culture within the company is very valuable for Dr. Jessica because every company is not all rainbows and sunshine. Every company experiences different kinds of challenges and it’s up to their field in building the healthy environment their employees need. According to her, to be an effective manager, one must gain that confidence and trust in the team which is an important thing Dr. Jessica needs to have, before a transformation could happen. 

Dr. Jessica ended the discussion by giving great advice for all the aspiring HR leaders in Malaysia. “You must know the technicality of HR functions. That’s number one. And number two is that you must lead with a heart. That’s my message for aspiring HR leaders. Because we are dealing with humans. They are not machines. We must lead with a heart.”

For more on Dr. Jessica’s enlightening perspective about the HR industry, catch her together with other thought leaders as they discuss in Panel Discussion – Attraction and retainment: The best techniques in winning the war for talent at the 11th HR Leaders Asia 2022 on August 24th, 2022 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 


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