Going above and beyond: The DNA of a modern workday leader

Paul Chong, CEO at Certis, receives Best C-Suite Leader of the Year at the HR Fest Awards 2024, and shares what it means to be a leader.
By: | June 11, 2024

What does it mean to be a leader in the corporate space in 2024? It becomes imperative to discuss this question as more organisations rely on great leadership to steer them towards success, exemplify the journey of what it means to lead, and work with the board to make decisions for the collective good of the organisation’s workforce. 

That is the firm belief of Paul Chong, Chief Executive Officer at Certis, who was named Best C-Suite Leader of The Year at HR Fest Awards 2024, which celebrated C-suite leaders who embrace and champion HR across all levels in their organisation.

“Winning the C-Suite Leader of the Year is an honour that deeply resonates with my personal and professional ethos,” said Chong, speaking to HRM Magazine Asia. “It signifies that the path we have carved at Certis, integrating technological advances with our human capital, is not only innovative but impactful.”

The organisation, which prides itself on integrating its technological advances with human capital, is often finding new ways to mentor the next wave of C-suite leaders, and the win is a sign that the organisation is on the right track. This is something Chong knows a lot about, especially with regards to breeding and mentoring leaders within Certis. As the President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Certis, Chong joined Certis as its founding Chief Executive Officer in 2004 and has since led, pushed and helped cultivate Certis’ transformation from a statutory board of Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs to a privatised entity with a global presence. 

“This award is for every individual at Certis who has contributed to our growth and success. It underscores our shared belief in the power of unity, perseverance, and innovation,” said Chong.  It also pushes the organisation to set higher benchmarks, keep disrupting industry norms, and commit to being at the forefront of the security services sector.

To Chong, he believes that a C-suite leader must rework and reimagine HR to meet a future where HR plays a strategic role in driving business transformation. “HR at Certis has transcended traditional roles and now plays a pivotal role in shaping corporate policies, driving change, and spearheading innovation,” Chong espoused. “This evolution reflects a broader change in the C-Suite community, where HR’s strategic input is critical to navigating the complexities of modern business landscapes.”

This redefined HR strategy amplifies the importance of consistently aligning human resource practices with business goals to foster a resilient, adaptable, and innovative corporate culture.

Chong believes that there is a need to emphasise the importance of adaptability, innovation, and cultivate a people-centric approach to leadership when it comes to C-suite leadership. “The leaders of tomorrow must be prepared to face an ecosystem that is perpetually changing, where technological advancements continuously reshape the business landscape,” explained Chong. 

READ MORE: Agility, technology, humanity: Success factors of HR teams

He also underscored the need for aspiring leaders to reflect and invest deeply in understanding the big changes that the corporate landscape inevitably will witness, and then cultivate a leadership style that is flexible, informed and compassionate. “Building resilient and adaptable teams, while remaining steadfast in one’s core values, will be essential for success in the dynamic years ahead,” he shared.