HRM Asia Watch List 2018: Chen Fong Tuan
The HRM Asia Watch List 2018 (#hrmwatchlist), brought to you by Armstrong Craven, showcases the brightest next-generation HR leadership talent from across Southeast Asia.
You could say that helping people realise their potential is in Chen Fong Tuan’s blood. Having grown up in a family of teachers, he knows first-hand the importance and impact of nurturing people and helping them grow, whether at school or at work.
“Seeing how people I have mentored [in my HR career] have gone on to bigger jobs – sometimes bigger than mine! – and progressed in their careers, that has kept me going,” he says. “The opportunity to influence people and help change their lives is gratifying. Work is such a big part of our lives.”
Conversely, “taking away jobs is personally for me the toughest part of what I do, ” he admits.
Chen himself is no slouch. Looking over his résumé, one is struck by the diversity of roles he has taken over the years, at a range of organisations. They include – but are not limited to – stints overseeing talent practice at Willis Tower Watson, regional organisational development at British American Tobacco, and rewards and performance at Maybank.
There is also his turn as Asia-Pacific HR Director for the German medtech, B. Braun. There, Chen led end-to-end HR across 16 different countries, before heading over to his current role as Head of People at property developer Mah Sing Group Berhad.
“One of our strategic priorities right now is in managing performance pro-actively, rather than retrospectively,” he says. “Looking forward rather than backwards, beyond KPIs.”
Looking forward seems to be an apt description of Chen’s own HR career, and one has to wonder what, if anything, is left for him to sink his teeth into.
“CEO?” he says with a laugh, acknowledging that it’s rare for HR leaders to end up in such positions.
“Although a CHRO would make a different kind of CEO,” he notes. “After all, every single part of the business needs people.”
The HRM Asia Watch List aims to showcase the up and coming generation of HR leadership talent in Southeast Asia. The list will be unveiled daily between September 27 and October 19, 2018. Check the dedicated archive for the latest updates, follow #hrmwatchlist on social media, or see below.