Up close and personal with an HR manager

Self-proclaimed "ah pek" Jonathan Wong loves his job as a talent manager at a Singapore engineering firm.

Jonathan Wong

Manager, Talent Management

B H S Kinetic

Who is Jonathan Wong –how would you describe him? 

He is your “ah pek” (uncle) who enjoys everything and anything local, and at times, hard to be taken seriously! Easy to get along with; operationally and process-driven; keeps it real.

As the Manager of Talent Management, what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Aside from the general responsibilities of recruitment, kopi-sessions with errant employees, and attending to HR operational matters, I try to spend equal, if not more time value-adding to department leaders and senior management. All in all, I’m on a mission to transform and position HR as a strategic partner.

Complete this sentence. HR is…

Everyone’s best friend. Really! We are there to motivate, provide advice, discipline, anticipate challenges, and much more.

What’s the best part of your job?

The feel-good factor of being valued by my peers and leaders; satisfaction from harvesting the fruits of my solutions; and most importantly – making an impact and being the difference in people’s lives.

What’s the worst part?

Being in an SME, the team is lean and thus there is a need to double or triple up to get things done. This is not entirely a bad thing, there are positives to it, but quality of work tends to be compromised due to the mad rush to complete the to-do list.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Ha ha – the opportunity to be interviewed here? Throughout my career, I’ve always valued the people I’ve met along the way. Colleagues, candidates, bosses, they’ve all shaped my career and who I am today.

What would you be doing if you were not on your current career path?

I guess I would still be in my previous career as a sound engineer, mixing live shows during the night, and studio recording during the day.

How do you unwind after work?

A good day-dreaming session. Thinking of what could have been and what may have happened. And a meal or drink with good company: priceless.

One person you would most like to trade places with for a day?

Former Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona during his prime? I would like to see how it feels like to be The King! 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

“What’s plan B?” It was from a client during my recruitment days. The team executed the first half really well but did not have a plan B when things went south. It was a painful and costly lesson, but a valuable one as well.

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