11th HR Leaders Asia 2022 Flexsys’ Koljit Singh Spotlight Interview: “I find it in Asia region, getting feedback, ideas, or asking people what they want could be a little bit challenging”

Koljit Singh

As we draw closer to the 11th HR Leaders Asia 2022, we present you a sneak preview of one of the event’s thought leaders, Koljit Singh, Flexsys’ current Asia Pacific Human Resources Director, having over 25 years of experience in the industry supervising HR projects and initiatives that strengthen employee experience and collaborates with leaders beyond the organization. In this spotlight interview, Koljit shares his eye-opening insights regarding his experiences in the HR industry that will surely enlighten each viewer’s perspective.  

One of Koljit’s aspirations is to see HR professionals act as strategic business partners who help to drive the business forward. Relating it with his expertise, Koljit revealed how he comes up with great ideas in his organization. To start off, great ideas could not be generated without understanding the business requirements and also the business needs, according to him. Being an HR practitioner, the first thing one should do is understand the conduct and requirements of the business. In terms of recognizing the basic part of the organization, it will help the business to be a little bit more strategic, especially when talking about hiring, developing, retaining. Only then, the team will be able to nail it right on the spot because the group is addressing the organization’s issues. “So what I normally do is I would actually understand the business needs, and now I will see what will be our strength, where we are, what could complement the organization, and that’s when I will start to look for talent in order to complement not only for them to get to do their job, but also to be able to stretch them for bigger positions. So therefore, understanding my current situation is really important. That’s how I would manage that.” Having said that, Koljit has also looked at the development stage. When the company consists of a different group of people – teams that are semi-matured, established or a new entry, Koljit’s development activity will also be very different based on what the organization needs. Koljit shares that his company has a group of young leaders in their current setup. When it comes to the youth, his focus is to make sure that he gets the basics and fundamental right. In a different organization, his team would need to understand exactly what the situation is to be able to apply the best strokes in order to meet the business essentials. “I would normally say to reiterate, I would examine the business situation, and finally look at what we are able to do in order to move forward. As an HR practitioner, it’s not about what we know, it’s about how the organization is, at what stage and what kind of remedy is needed.  So different stages, situations and environments will require different remedies.” That’s where his team comes up with their portion, with their own formula to mitigate the risk and to make the people grow in the organization.

The HR Director believes that every HR should continue their determination for their organizations. “Because with determination, you will be able to keep going”, he stated. For Koljit, the HR industry is always the one that gets questioned the most and they don’t just have one associate. Every employee in the business is the HR’s stakeholder. The more stakeholders they have, the more feedback they are going to receive. It speaks about perseverance as well because basing on Koljit’s experience, most HR departments have no one to complain to. “At least my team can still talk to me, but who am I going to talk to? I can’t talk to the CEO”, the director laughed. At the end of the day, to be an HR person, one must have the patience to see things through.

Being in the industry for over 25 years, Koljit still ensures he’s constantly learning in his field. There are few things he practices to keep learning and growing, as well to make his life a little interesting. Firstly, Koljit makes sure that he gets to coach juniors. Currently, he’s coaching a group of juniors whom he wants to see them flourish. “That is quite rewarding to see them being successful in their career, I take them on and it’s for free, it’s for pro bono. If there are any juniors out there who are seeking directions or seeking guidance, I take that up. That helped me to learn because coaching is a two-way learning process. I share with them my knowledge as well, I get them to mirror a little bit about what I do. At the same time, I get to learn from them.” To his surprise, Koljit has learned quite a lot from the younger ones and mentoring them is something he would like to do continuously. Secondly, he prepares himself for international conferences, or engages himself in HR networks. “This allows me the opportunity to speak to greater HR minds and to bounce off ideas with them. This is also a good learning platform for me.” 

One fact about the speaker is his love for books and has been catching up with his list these past few weeks. Apart from coaching and networking, Koljit reads to keep himself abreast with what’s happening around the market, to remain upskilled and make life a little interesting. The HR leader even shared his current favorite book by Bill Conaty and Ram Charan titled Talent Masters. “It was wonderful, I read it a few times and love the stories in the book. It inspires me. They put people before numbers for the simple reason that it is talent that delivers the numbers.” Apart from Bill Conaty and Ram Charan, he also shared his other favorite authors who have inspired him when he was younger such as Stephen Covey and Robin Sharma. Koljit prefers self-help books and philosophy because it gives him new ideas and strategies. 

Also, one of Koljit’s hopes is to develop a culture where people will want to work and stay. The HR Director finished off the conversation by giving brilliant advice for the employees to achieve his aim. “My advice to the employees is to come forward, give your inputs. Because to create a culture, work is not one sided. It’s not purely HR. I give my employees plenty of platforms to provide feedback, ultimately, because this work environment and culture in which I’m trying to create is not for me, it’s for them. So I need their input very much. So my advice to all employees out there: Speak, speak your mind, tell what is needed. What’s important is that we try to make the best of what we have. But we need input. I find it especially in this region, the Asia region, getting feedback or getting ideas, or asking people what they want, could be a little bit challenging. So my advice to the employees in order to support HR is to make the organization a better place to be in or a better place for both ours, for me and for you. So what I need is your participation. It does not need to be active. I don’t need you to be providing feedback every day. But at least once or twice in a year, provide feedback if you have any valid response so we can find rooms for improvements. Don’t just sit behind and say nothing is done. In order to make the organization a better place is to participate in making it a better place.

For more of Koljit’s incredible perspectives on the HR industry, we invite you to join him together with the other astounding thought leaders in their 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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