How large organisations can elevate their human development strategies

City Holdings' Pwint Phyu Han shares the importance of bringing human development into South-East Asia.
By: | June 19, 2024

The Best ASEAN Human Development (Large Companies) award was awarded to City Holdings, an organisation based in Myanmar. Consisting of six business units in Myanmar, City Holdings primarily focuses on retail, distribution, and food and beverage industries.

“Our journey has been marked by challenges, from establishing the Group Company structure in 2019 to navigating the obstacles posed by the Covid pandemic and economic downturn in Myanmar,” shared Pwint Phyu Han, Group Chief People Officer, City Holdings, while speaking to HRM Magazine Asia. “Despite these limitations, we remain steadfast in our commitment to empowering our employees to better serve our customers.”

Receiving the accolade by a prestigious organisation across ASEAN validates the efforts and work made by City Holdings as a whole and has filled Han with a profound sense of pride.

City Holdings’ core people strategy revolves around fostering a platform for employee career growth, thus cultivating a high-performance culture within the organisation. With 11,000 employees that they see as family, much of their human development strategy involves shifting the organisation’s perspective from seeing employees as human capital to recognising them as individuals with their own aspirations and life challenges.

“We place emphasis on conducting performance discussions that highlight both employee performance and development, establishing a clear link between individual objectives, team KPIs, and organisational strategy,” shared Han. “Our business strategy is collaboratively set with line managers and leaders, ensuring that strategic initiatives are effectively communicated throughout the organisation.”

The team’s capability development is centred around the City Learning Institute, which utilises various learning modalities to impart knowledge and skills. This is done by heavily leveraging digital platforms to reach a broader employee audience, facilitating capability development, knowledge enhancement, and engagement.

Feedback between employees and managers is open thanks to the organisation providing My Voice surveys, provided biannually; as well as the direct access to CEOs to provide opinions via the City Family application. Employees who perform well and contribute a lot are duly rewarded with financial remuneration and development so that their efforts are fully recognised, and they recognise the wellbeing of employees by providing substantial support for both physical and mental health.

So, what steps can large organisations such as City Holdings take to bring human development into their organisations and how can they raise opportunities to upskill and push their employees to succeed? For Han, it does not start with an adherence to a specific theoretical model. “We began developing our human development policies with a mindset and intent that resonates with our organisation’s purpose: ‘to create value for our communities through our core values of innovation, integrity, excellence, and social responsibility,’” she shared. These strategies include listening to the needs of the employees, while also understanding the external challenges they face.

“This insight guides our strategic directions, enabling us to better support our employees in serving our customers. The key is swiftly launching initiatives that address the challenges and needs our employees encounter,” said Han.

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Other strategies include securing buy in from key stakeholders to push human development strategies, as the priority of sharing a synergistic mindset via core leaders significantly influences the success of these initiatives.

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