Q&A with CP Group's Chief People Officer Kulshaan Singh

Kulshaan Singh shares with HRM Magazine Asia his priorities as the Chief People Officer of Thailand's largest conglomerate.

It has been said that the Chief HR Officer is the glue that holds an organisation together. In this exclusive interview with HRM Magazine Asia, the newly-appointed Chief People Officer of Thai conglomerate CP Group Kulshaan Singh (pictured below) shares how he plans to be a bridge between the business and its people.



Q: What is CP Group’s vision, and how do you promote this through the Chief People Officer role?

A: Our vision is “to provide food for both body and mind, create shared value, and bring health and well-being for all”. Underpinning our vision is the belief that people are our most valuable asset, and if we prioritise others’ interests, our business will also succeed. Our motto of the “Three Benefits” has been guiding our business ever since we were founded. This ensures we provide benefits to the countries where we operate, to the communities we engage with, and finally to our company and our employees. 

To deliver on our vision, especially as we continue to grow and expand globally, we need to develop the next generation of leaders who continue to embrace our values. Our people determine the future of our company. My role as Chief People Officer is to work on attracting, retaining, training, and grooming our talent, and ensuring all our employees embrace our vision and core values


Q: What are your priorities in your new role? What advice would you give to other incoming HR leads?

A: One of my key priorities is to prepare our workforce for the future – Industry 4.0. We need our team to adapt to and manage the global disruptions that are impacting the industries and markets we are operating in. This includes training them to embrace innovation, digital platforms, and advanced technologies; equipping them with the right skill sets; and empowering them to embrace a growth mindset. All this is done while working hand in hand with disruptive forces and ecosystem teams.

To help us achieve this, I will work alongside our Senior Chairman, Chairman, and Group CEO to build our global employer brand and create an employee experience that will unlock the immense and unmatched potential of our over 350,000 staff. 

My advice to incoming HR leaders is to develop deep insights on how macroeconomic and disruptive forces will drive changes in your business models, and then assess their implications on your organisation and people. To ensure you can execute the goals of your company, assess the skills you have in your teams and have a plan in place to both build capacity and cultivate the right capabilities.

Q: What are your current priorities?

Check out our interview with Kulshaan Singh and other HR leaders here, or in the June 2018 edition of HRM Magazine Asia

A: We have two key focus areas. The first is a re-examination of our talent acquisition process. We have now radically transformed our hiring practices. Senior Chairman Dhanin Chearavanont is personally driving the strategies to ensure we are able to attract and nurture the talent we need for the future success of the group. Recent initiatives include working closely with leading universities in Thailand and the region. We have also extended our efforts globally and are building relationships with top schools to attract the best talent worldwide.

Our second focus is to ensure our employees are given the opportunity to continuously develop, as well as encouraging them to build skills to promote disruption and innovation within their businesses. A core initiative in this area is the CP Leadership Institute, our incubator and development engine. This will serve as our innovation hub where we run cross-functional development initiatives, finding synergies, and new ways of working together.


Q: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to recruiting, developing, and retaining the right talent?

A: I see a couple. Firstly, although we are a well-known business and employer brand in Thailand and China, we are still relatively unknown in the global arena. This impacts our ability to attract talent globally, and we need to address it.

Secondly, our talent acquisition strategy needs to continue to evolve in order to attract global expertise. Our portfolio ranges from agriculture, food, retail, and telecoms to automotive operations, and brings a diverse employee demographic and skill matrix. Our HR strategies need to cater to this very varied, multi-generational, and multi-cultural workforce.   

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