Today’s feature is AirAsia’s Philippines’ Country Head of People and Culture, Kirk Patrick Alimaza. Through his role, Kirk was able to advance his leadership skills responsive to the changing needs of people management. Kirk’s business acumen spans across ASEAN. Rockbird media recently caught up with Kirk to reflect on his journey as an HR leader.
Kirk also led Indonesia AirAsia’s HR team for a few months. One of the challenges he has encountered was the language barrier. In spite of that, Kirk was still able to manage and communicate with his team. There are not many differences in terms of dealing with fellow leaders in Indonesia, as well as Malaysia where he handled AirAsia’s career site in the region which made him feel like home in the Philippines.
When it comes to the aviation field, Kirk shared what attribute a leader should have in the industry. First thing that came into his mind was grit. “Because that’s where you measure your courage and your ability to resolve issues and problems. Including your strength, on how you handle challenges everyday and in the future.” Second thing is to know how to process things immediately and to be proactive. Reflecting on his experience during the restriction, the cases sometimes would surge then recede. So he needed to be proactive, looking out for their employees to prioritize their safety and to avoid crew shortages that can lead to canceled flights.
Being in the industry for more than a decade, Kirk keeps himself updated regarding trends and changes in the business world by reading articles online. “After office hours, I would scroll through my feed and read some articles. In our generation today, I search for articles on how to deal with GenZs.” Most of their employees are over 25 years old and it is indeed that their generation is much different. As an HR, Kirk needs to close the generation gap. In line with this, their team also conducts learning sessions regarding the latest trends to learn and foresee what generational challenges might come in the future. Another thing he does to keep himself updated is catching up with the other HR leaders from other airlines in the Philippines. They would schedule to meet outside work where they can share updates on what’s going on in their work, their struggles and how to deal with them. After sharing, they would take notes and would read them. “Some people might see us as competitors but we are really good friends. We are there for each other every time one of us needs help.”
Kirk finished the conversation with a message for all the HR leaders in the Philippines:
“Love what you’re doing. And never stop doing what you think is right for our employees. We make a lot of sacrifices for them. It’s the nitty gritty of being an HR professional.”
Make sure to catch Kirk Patrick Alimaza as he participates as one of our thought leaders at HR Tech Strategy Meeting Philippines 2023 on June 28th at Hilton, Manila.