HRM Asia Watch List 2018: Monica Oudang

The Chief HR Officer for Indonesia's Go-Jek plans to continue nurturing the company's unique culture, even as it soars to ever-greater heights.
By: | October 3, 2018

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.



Technically, Monica Oudang is still in her first formal HR practitioner role – but considering the role in question is Chief HR Officer at Go-Jek, it’s safe to say that she is no novice.

HRM Asia Watch List

Monica Oudang

Chief People Officer, Go-Jek

Based in: Jakarta

HR focus areas: Culture and People Analytics

Favourite aspect of HR: “I love that we deal with people and that they pose different challenges everyday that not only requires great empathy, but also great understanding of the science of behaviour.”

Career-defining moment: “Transitioning from being a banker to a marketer, and [then] realising that my true passion lies in helping other people discover their true potential [in HR].”

The billion-dollar Indonesian unicorn has become one of the region’s hottest names in tech, and has seen its workforce grow from some 50 to 100 in early 2015 – when Oudang formally joined the company – to almost 5,000 today.

As a matter of fact, Oudang brings a diverse slate of business experience to her work as head of people for Indonesia’s hottest start-up.

She began her career in investment banking, spending just under three years as a fund analyst, before shifting verticals into marketing.

A stint at Indonesia’s Global TV followed, where Oudang oversaw marketing and communications – but the work required travel, something that became trickier to manage after Oudang got married.

She decided then that she would establish something on her own terms, something that played upon her interests in working with people: a recruitment firm.

Her firm, Staff Search, started out serving mostly medium-sized business. But as the company grew, so did the client base – and that was how she met Nadiem Makarim, now Go-Jek’s co-founder and CEO.

The rest, one could say, is history.

But Oudang isn’t concerned with history, not with Go-Jek continuing on a rocket-fuelled trajectory towards regional dominance.

Her big focuses right now are in getting the right talent through the door, and ensuring that the company’s culture doesn’t get lost in the midst of tremendous growth.

“Our culture has been integral to our growth, so it’s important for us to stay true to that,” she notes.

As she sees it, HR has a crucial part to play as the bridge between leadership and the rest of the organisation.

“My team has to have that in-depth understanding of what is actually going on in the organisation – to understand the financials, the business context, the data – and to be able to strategically partner with leadership to create solutions. Rather than just ‘copying-and-pasting’ from what worked before,” she explains.

“It’s about transforming mindsets, and starting to think about things from a different perspective.”

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. 

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