Razman Radzi: Managing Essential Elements With Resolute Leadership

Razman Radzi
Razman Radzi

One of the most important components of success in the contemporary business world is Human Capital Management (HCM). Human resources (HR) leaders play a crucial role in managing workforces effectively, optimizing productivity and driving business value. The role of the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) has evolved over the years, and today, CHCOs are expected to be strategic partners to the CEO.

Reimagining the basic tenets of the organization to create a new operating model that drives value and navigates complex people-centric challenges and help the CEO make informed decisions. Razman Radzi, Group Chief Human Capital Officer at FGV Holdings has worked in different sectors as an HR professional gaining a wealth of experience in managing human capital. With a focus on identity, agility and talent, he is helping build the organization of the future.

By developing and reinforcing HR operating models that are innovative and adaptable, Radzi is helping the company rise to a new level of adaptability and responsibility. With a strong focus on strategic planning, he is also helping the company achieve its goals and drive business success.

We at CIOLook interviewed Radzi on his journey to becoming a leader in HCM.

Let’s delve into the intercepts of the interview!

Please introduce yourself and provide a brief overview of your role in the field of Human Resources.

I have been working as an HR professional for more than 33 years serving in multiple industries such as banking, property development, manufacturing, oil and gas, security services, healthcare management, investment holding and currently in agribusiness/food.

Started my career as a specialist in Compensation & Benefits in a bank before moving on to head Learning & Development in a property development company. Other specialist roles include Industrial & Employee Relations, HR Strategy & Business Services, Organizational Development, Office Administration & Security and Corporate Performance Monitoring.

Currently, as Group Chief Human Capital Officer for FGV Holdings, I oversee the entire spectrum of HR services and development for the group with 52,000 employees.

What do you believe are the most significant trends and challenges in HR management that have emerged in the recent year?

The last few years had been quite disruptive due to the pandemic. The workforce of today is quite different from the one prior to the pandemic. Hence, organizations and HR specifically need to adapt and change. Values and expectations have evolved. Some of the trends we have today are:

  • Increased use of technology to perform work/tasks.
  • Flexible working arrangements are fast becoming the norm leading to lesser requirements for formal working spaces.
  • Emergence of co-working spaces.
  • Heightened trust levels in employees to deliver on outcomes irrespective of where they are.
  • Leaders need to adapt to new ways of working. Agility of leaders is important to navigate through these unchartered waters.
  • Employee experience is now a key aspect of attraction and retention.
  • Increased use of advanced analytics and ChatGPT in people management.

These present HR with a new set of challenges. Basically, disruptions are continuously happening and at an unrelenting pace.

Some of them include:

  • Economic uncertainties due to global geo-political crises such as war may impact organizational performance.
  • Managing more employees working remotely and at the same time ensuring productivity levels are not adversely affected.
  • Managing mental health issues at the workplace as well as employees suffering from long Covid.
  • Strengthening corporate culture and leadership capabilities in turbulent times.
  • Getting the right talent with the right attitude and skillset that fits the role.

As an influential HR leader, what are your key priorities and initiatives for driving organizational success through effective HR practices?

One of my key priorities is to align HR strategies and initiatives that are aligned with organizational needs. Misalignment will result in HR investing in time and money on pursuits that are off-tangent with current realities. In doing so, I take measures to future-proof the organization. A key stakeholder is my own HR team. They need to be on board with the HR vision and this team must be energized towards realizing the vision.

Another key priority is to ensure that HR policies and practices are up-to-date with current market best practices. As younger talent joins the workforce, the changing demographics impact talent expectations at the workplace. HR must be agile and adapt to changing expectations and norms. The message to be embedded within the HR team is that we have to be flexible where policies and procedures will change with the times.

Concurrently, we are taking steps to improve HR analytics by sending our HR staff for training and certification. Providing business insights via HR analytics will be a key feature of what we do in HR in the near future.

What innovative strategies or technologies have you implemented to enhance the employee experience and promote a positive workplace culture?

We have embarked on our digitalization journey and expect phase 1 of our new HRMS to go live by the end of 2023. With full deployment by the end of 2024, we will have most, if not all HR transactions to be taken up by the system.

At the same time, we have deployed systems and apps to manage our flexible working arrangements to meet changing work norms while ensuring better productivity levels.

We had undertaken an Employee Engagement Survey recently which saw an 8% improvement in the index compared to 2017, placing us among the top quartile of employers in the country. Addressing the issues and keeping the workforce updated on the progress and outcomes will help to strengthen a positive work culture.

In short, we are continuously looking at various initiatives and processes that attract, reward, develop and retain the best talent.

In your opinion, what are the essential skills and competencies that HR professionals should possess to thrive in the evolving HR landscape?

I think that the skillset and competencies necessary for HR professionals to navigate through an evolving HR landscape have changed over time. It goes beyond the functional spectrum of HR. People often say, ‘Think outside the box’. My take however is that why do we need the box in the first place?

It is a totally different perspective.

  • Ideation: We HR professionals are not doing enough ideation in our current roles. We should be exploring new ideas, testing hypotheses and developing new thoughts that bring significant impact and proactive solutions to the table. In doing so, we must develop a curious mindset, be inquisitive with a love of exploration.
  • Create practical solutions from the ideas. Solutions that bring value to people, the organization and the environment. Pragmatism should rule the day here, leveraging on creativity, imagination and practicality.
  • Innovation: HR professionals should always be on a journey of continuous improvement. They need to possess the courage to challenge the norm and experiment with various solutions.
  • Curator: It’s about synthesizing the outcomes of ideation, creation and innovation into a narrative that is both compelling and inspiring. Effective engagement of key stakeholders is pivotal to securing buy-ins and support.

How do you incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives into your HR strategies and what benefits have you observed as a result?

In formulating and developing our HR strategies, we start by focussing on 3 outcomes.

  • Business Outcomes must be aligned with the organization.
  • We look at Talent Outcomes such as being performance-driven, strong organizational culture, growth orientation and having a motivated and skilled workforce.
  • We have the ESG Outcomes where we focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, fair and equitable people practices, and more.

By having ESG as an organizational outcome, we can ensure that we identify and implement initiatives that contribute towards the outcomes within our HR strategies. However, since we have just embarked on this journey, it’s too early to see the desired results. But we are confident that given time, the benefits will eventually materialize.

How do you approach performance management and talent development to ensure continuous growth and professional advancement for employees?

I believe that the key to ensuring continuous growth and professional advancement of employees is the quality of leadership. There are many schools of thought, concepts and models of leadership.

I do not specifically subscribe to any particular one but those that stand out for me are authentic leadership and being an influential leader. One idea that strikes me is that whatever leadership model we look at, the underlying foundation to all is the ability of leaders to coach and mentor their teams, apply active listening skills and empathize.

How do you stay informed about the latest HR trends and best practices, and how do you apply them within your organization?

I read. I attend conferences and I network. I then synthesize my learnings from these activities into something that I can apply in the organization. And in doing so, I will also consider if these ideas are something that the organization needs. No point in introducing something that is not relevant to business needs. Being pragmatic certainly helps.

What advice would you give to aspiring HR professionals who aspire to become influential leaders in the field?

  • Don’t stop growing. Ask yourself what is the ultimate outcome of your professional journey. Based on that, you can then create a path towards that outcome. Setting key milestones and considering alternative paths if there are roadblocks that hinders your progress towards the milestones.
  • You need to recognize your own flaws if I can put it crudely. Take action to address these flaws.
  • Accept that you may not always be right and ready to adopt others’ opinions. Agility and adaptability are also keys to success as an HR professional.
  • If it helps, identify with a role model.