People Are the Heart of Any Organisation: A Q&A with Megan Chua
Fay Welch sat down with Megan Chua, who recently joined Aryzta as Human Resources Director, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Reflecting on a human resources career spanning 20 years, Megan shares what motivates her and what impact she feels she has had in the industry.
Tell us about your career trajectory and why you chose a career in HR.
It was not by coincidence that I ended up in human resources, I was inspired by a thought leader from the profession during my studies. Learning about connecting with people, touching hearts, opening doors, and lining up the right opportunities keeps me excited and engaged. Knowing I’m working for the greater good brings me job satisfaction.
I have worked in the human resources field for 20 years. My roles have spanned a wide variety of industries such as education, manufacturing, food and beverage, healthcare, information services, IT outsourcing, semiconductor and technology solutions. Most recently I joined Aryzta, a global leader in frozen B2B bakery products with operations in American, Europe and Asia Pacific.
What do you enjoy most about working in HR?
My career has allowed me to see different parts of the world, meet new people and explore different industries and cultures. Over the years, I have been exposed to various areas of human resources including talent acquisition and development, talent management and reward. I have built my knowledge from a fundamental level to the strategic business partner I am today. I am excited about my new journey with Aryzta, as a key member of the HR Leadership Team I will be working on our People Strategy, focusing on Compensation and Benefits, Safety, Employee Retention, Employee Development, Talent Review and Succession Planning.
What are some of your current thoughts on the industry?
As HR professionals we deal with people and people are dynamic. It is essential to look at continuous improvement in people and technological development to bolster a company’s vision, mission and core values and at the same time to build sustainability.
I had the opportunity to build a culture of ‘Kaizen’ with external consultants at one of the companies I worked for. It is an approach to foster continuous improvements based on the idea that small, ongoing positive changes can reap major improvements. Through creating an action plan focused on improving specific areas within the company and involving all levels of employees, we were able to drive sales, create scale, increase profitability and customer satisfaction as part of a post-merger organizational design.
Change motivates me. I take pride in the work I do that makes a positive impact on people during challenging times such as transformation, change in corporate direction and reorganization.
What have been some key career highlights and challenges?
A key achievement of mine was establishing partnerships with local education institutions to build a local talent pipeline through an internship program and campus recruitment fairs. A new training facility was built to enable students to acquire authentic experience as a commitment to develop a technical workforce for the future. This was also used as an internal training platform and customer showcase.
More recently I was excited to play a key role in driving a Diversity and Inclusion initiative at Aryzta. I represent APMEA to create an inclusive work environment that treats all individuals with respect. I initiated the celebration of International Women’s Day this year, and for the first time we celebrated as a region. I was proud to be part of this event as most of the companies I have worked for have been male-dominated, especially at the leadership level.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing HR in the future?
The different roles in the HR function need to work in partnership with the business to meet the organizations plan and objectives. HR needs to become customer-centred, number-savvy, think like business people, and be accountable for the measurement of our people strategy. HR will play a vital role in establishing the organizational culture and create a work environment in which people will choose to be motivated, contributing, and happy.
Change is constant. Creativity is the essence. We must not stop evaluating the effectiveness of the function of human resources in line with the results of organization initiatives. We need to be nimble in change management, consciously help to create the right organizational culture and monitor employee satisfaction.
What makes a successful leader?
Leadership is a privilege but also a responsibility. I believe the way to effectively grasp the concept of leadership, especially in the field of human resources and people development, is to elevate others and humble ourselves. To be a leader, is to be a steward who manages resources. We help build the lives of others and participate in the development of their potential. Effective leaders take pleasure in managing and developing the capabilities of people around them, and they are not threatened when some of those people move ahead of them. These leaders always look for potential in others, treating even difficult people with dignity and considering the possibility of unleashed capability in them. Leaders who make the most lasting contribution in their companies and society are characterised by humility and passion.
In the field of human resources, we are dealing with people. People’s livelihood and careers are under our purview. We need to value our interaction with people, in a way that develops them, cares for them and protects them.
If you would be interested in being interviewed for a Q&A feature piece, would like to discuss the market or learn more about current opportunities, please get in touch with Fay Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org