A Move From Administrative To Strategy


Prethiba Esvary


3 min read

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Did you know that the human resources (HR) profession only came about in the 19th century?

In his speech at the recent 17th Malaysia HR Awards, Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM) president Aresandiran Jaganatha Naidu said: “This is unlike the legal profession which came about in the 1600s and the engineering profession which arrived in the 1700s.

A century later, the role of HR has undergone tremendous change. The profession, which used to be largely administrative, has now transitioned into a more strategic one.

Aresandiran (far left) and SEEK Asia CEO Suresh Thiru (far right) with the Scicom (MSC) Bhd team after they won the grand award for employer of choice (private sector). Pic by Muhamad Shahril Rosli/ The Star

Since its early days, it has been perceived as a relatively dull job and/or an area that seems ambiguous to some.  

In a Harvard Business Review article, authors and MBA graduates Matthew D. Breitfelder and Daisy Wademan Dowling wrote: “When we chat about our jobs with Harvard Business School classmates, six years after graduation, they often smile bemusedly and nearly always ask the same question: “You’re doing what?” Both of us are in the field of human capital management, helping major companies select, retain, and groom their cadre of rising stars. Translation: We work in HR.

Aware of this issue, Aresandiran says: “MIHRM has been fighting to recognise this profession. We want to recognise local leaders. The HR professionals (in Malaysia) have a lot of capabilities and competencies, and we must build our own people.”

This is why the HR awards was conceived – to promote the recognition of HR and the application of HR strategies and management in the achievement of business excellence.

Established since 1999, the awards provide winners the opportunity to be recognised not only in one country, but in 95 countries due to its affiliation with the World Federation of People Management Associations and Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management.

The table below lists the winners for this year’s awards.

The awards ceremony which was held on Nov 9 at the Grand Dorsett Hotel Subang, was sponsored by Jobstreet.com, K-Pintar, Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF), along with Leaderonomics as their media partner, World HRD Congress as its international award partner and Eminent Events as its event partner.

Congratulations to all the winners!


What the winners said

Scicom (MSC) Bhd

Scicom Bhd Chief operating officer of outsourcing, Benny PhilipScicom, the business process outsourcing company bagged the employer of choice award for the sixth time this year, and scored a grand award for the very first time.

The company’s chief operating officer of outsourcing, Benny Philip (pic), says: “Every award validates different parts of the business. Winning this award tells us that we are doing something right with our people practice.”
This is clear in their gender diversity management and appointment of women to leadership positions.

According to Benny, the problem most organisations have in terms of getting women into leadership positions is that there are not enough women in the pipeline.

Benny says: “Instead of relying on the market, what we do is we develop our own future leaders.

“If you look at our workforce, it’s almost 50-50 (men and women). We spend a lot of time and effort on initiatives to train and develop the women that we have into future leaders.”


Prasarana Malaysia Bhd

Prasarana’s chief human capital officer, Abdul Mutallif Abdul ManafWhen asked what the award meant to them, Prasarana’s chief human capital officer, Abdul Mutallif Abdul Manaf (pic)said: “MIHRM has long been in the industry. They are one of the pioneers in HR. So, when you have them as an award organiser, it brings a different meaning.”

“In terms of human capital at Prasarana, we have evolved from just an administrator, to becoming a business partner. We now focus a lot on talent management and improving our reward structure,” he added.

According to Mutallif, the transportation industry’s reward structure is not as promising compared to the general market.

“But we have come a long way and today, we are proud to say we are competitive in our reward structure,” he said.
Due to the company’s improved reward system, they are able to attract good talent, and this includes talent from other industries such as banking and oil and gas.


Ricoh (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

Doris Tham, Ricoh’s general manager of HRDoris Tham (pic), Ricoh’s general manager of HR says that the MIHRM awards is unique for several reasons.
“One, is that each company is required to submit data or evidence of how HR has played a vital role in helping the organisation to drive business results.

“Two, companies that have advanced to stage two of the selection process have to deliver a public presentation on a selected topic to a panel of jury and external participants consisting mainly of HR professionals.”



She says the HR awards by MIHRM is not just about winning an award, but it is also about learning and sharing best practices with fellow participating companies.

The MIHRM HR Awards is held annually. To find out more about how you can participate, and for further information on MIHRM, visit www.mihrm.com


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