HRM Asia Watch List 2018: Minn Yan Aung Naing Soe

The Head of HR for International SOS in Myanmar is building the medical and travel security multinational's local function from the ground up.
By: | October 12, 2018

The HRM Asia Watch List 2018 (#watchlist2018), brought to you by Armstrong Craven, showcases the brightest next-generation HR leadership talent from across Southeast Asia.


HRM Asia Watch List

Minn Yan Aung Naing Soe

Head of HR, International SOS, Myanmar

Based in: Yangon

HR focus areas: Employee engagement

Favourite aspect of HR: “Developing employees and making strategic plans for the future.”

Career-defining moment: “Building a strong and disciplined HR function and having the ability to influence positively the whole team.”

Minn Yan Aung Naing Soe has packed a lot into his 13-year career within HR, in a market where the definition and demands of people management are both fast-evolving.

Minn has certainly been witness to the traditional, purely-administrative practices of the old ways of handling staff, perhaps more recently than many of the other HR leaders in the Watch List. But he has also seen the wider possibilities of the function and the strategic value it can bring to organisations across Myanmar.

In particular, the three and a half years he spent with multinational logistics provider DB Schenker gave him insight into the opportunities that modern HR can offer.

“HR has to be empowered to deal with issues as they arise,” he says. “It needs to play a strategic role in managing people and the culture as a whole; and ensuring that these are in line with organisational goals.”

Minn has been with International SOS for just over a year, and is responsible for all aspects of HR across the organisation’s Myanmar operations. With a strong emphasis on high-wage medical professionals (75% of the organisation’s Myanmar headcount are doctors), ensuring effective recruitment, retention, and engagement procedures is paramount.

“Probably my biggest challenge at the moment is developing the employee engagement programme from nothing,” Minn says. Managing conflicts (both between staff themselves, and between staff and the organisation) within an already high-pressure operating environment also regularly tests his people management credentials.

While there is still more to do at International SOS, Minn has an eye on an HR consulting career in the future. “This might be in between five and eight years’ time,” he says.

“Right at the moment, I have to try to develop my current organisation to have an even stronger HR department.”

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 #watchlist2018 on social media, or see below. 

Introduction | Welcome address by Tom Mason

Profile #1: Jaspreet Kakar | Profile #2: Dianne Goette | Profile #3: Chen Fong Tuan

Profile #4: Felicia Teh | Profile #5: Monica Oudang | Profile #6: Evangeline Chua

Profile #7: Agapol Na Songkhla | Profile #8: Clayton Tan | Profile #9: Tony Tan

Profile #10: Vanessa Mercado-Maningas | Profile #11: Jahja Soenarta | Profile #12: Minn Yan

Profile #13: Rudy Afandi | Profile #14: Norazlina Idris

Profile #15: Naveen Chhabra | Profile #16: Monir Azzouzi