Choosing HR with purpose: it's about personal values and resonating with them
Jaka: How did you end up in people culture and human capital, especially in this role as the Talent Acquisition Manager at your company?
Ali: I’m currently in my 7th year journey with a startup company. Previously, I worked for a recruitment agency, digital bank, other startups and also for a global startup (Hostinger), and now I'm at Bobobox (an Indonesia-based startup). It's a pioneer of smart modular pods and cabins across Indonesia.
At the moment, I am still focusing on talent acquisitions. Although, I have had experience in other HR spectrums such as in learning and development, performance management, and a bit about organisational development. Those are the highlights of my career.
Jaka: Talking about the journey itself. Before I go deeper into the further question, what actually brought you to this space? What resonates with your personal values that brought you to the role in the organisation of growing and building people?
Ali: I am not accidentally going to HR. I already decided that I wanted to pursue a career in HR while I was still in college. During college and high school, I was often involved in organisations that exposed me to opportunities for developing people, managing relationships, and resolving conflicts. At the same time, my father, who was a college lecturer, I saw him involved in developing students to become successful. With that series of events, it led me to realize that I am really interested in taking part in people's journey towards success.
Hence, I ended up in positions where I'm helping the company to attract people and grow together within the company. That's what empowers me until now.
Sharing best practices, overcoming challenges, and nurturing HR success during times of change
Jaka: In the past two years, especially, we have experienced what we call the "attack winters" or the “crunch”, where many startups are faced with a reality check about how to deal with their operations and talent management.
From your perspective as a Talent Acquisition Manager at Bobobox, how do you see the current situation? Specifically, what kind of support do HR professionals need in regard to change management?
Because all the adjustments that we need to make, whether we like it or not, require us to translate not only to ourselves as leaders but also across the organisation. What support do you think you might need as an HR professional?
Ali: I really agree with the statement that we are in a situation where these series of events, including tech winters, startup bubble, and post-pandemic situation. HR professionals like us need to come up with something to help the business navigating these challenges. Do you want to grow the business the "Blitzscale way", which is not proven to be sustainable durnig pandemic and tech winter. Or do you want to grow the business perhaps more slowly but in a more calculated and careful way that allows for a long-term and sustainable business?
Presented by those situation, many HR professionals are struggling to become the true business partner for business owners to grow their company in a more sustainable way.
Now is the right time for us to have a platform or organisation that can help us connect with senior HR professionals and mentors. To help us survive in these kinds of situations and become the right business partners. I believe this is the first support we need.
The second one is, what NewCampus is currently doing. We require a platform that can help us learn more about HR, business, and best practices, both from a strategic and practical point of view. We can learn a lot from this and grow as HR professionals, helping business owners and businesses becoming more sustainable.
And of course, the last part is, we also need a community for us HR people to come together and discuss best practices with each other. We can share what we've endured as HR professionals, what we've already implemented in our companies, what works, and what doesn't. Then, we can share our points of view on how to overcome these challenges.
We HR professionals require three supports: the platform to connect us with mentors -- more senior professionals, second is a place we can learn more about best practices, and the third one is a community for us to come together and share our best practices.
To conclude, we HR professionals require three supports: the platform to connect us with mentors -- more senior professionals, second is a place we can learn more about best practices, and the third one is a community for us to come together and share our best practices.
HR’s role in sustainable business: from employee partner to business partner
Jaka: Essentially, I am reiterating the point that HR is not only a partner of the employees, but also a business partner of the owners. Now, I would like to emphasize the importance of HR being a business partner of the owners. This means that HR is being more strategic.
In your opinion Ali, how can HR be more strategic in regards to talent development, especially in the current situation where there are a lot of changes and transformation needs to happen? Many models need to be readjusted, which translates into changes in certain human capital arrangements.
Ali: Although my current role is in talent acquisition, I'll try not to limit my answer from that perspective. I recognise the importance of a broader perspective to answer that question that is talent development.
As HR, we can help the company to navigate the correct path for them. How? I can break this down into two parts.
The first part is about onboarding the right-fit people in terms of knowledge, skills, attitude, and motivation. Now, if we want to grow a business in a more sustainable way, we need to also consider the motivation and potential of the candidates we are planning to onboard. Yes, we hire them because we need their skills to solve current problems. But business challenge/problem evolves and the motivation & potential of these talents are keys in determining whether they can keep up with business challenges or not.
Perhaps we may not always be able to onboard candidates with 100% competency fit, but that person can grow into a better fit for us in the long term.
The second point is that when we talk about talent development, we need to help the company identify gaps between business challenges and the competency of talents. If we're able to idenfty those gaps, I'm sure we can help the company to develop talents in the right direction for years to come. Of course the next step is to provide the company with the right strategy, framework, and conducting the learning & development initiatives.
To position ourselves as a business partner rather than just being administrative and focusing on day-to-day jobs, we can start by focusing on those two things.
To conclude, to position ourselves as a business partner rather than just being administrative and focusing on day-to-day jobs, we can start by focusing on those two things.
How curiosity, competence, and learning fit in talent development success for startups
Jaka: You mentioned your bias, which is a good one, as an acquisition professional. You're not only looking for short-term needs but also how this individual can potentially be moulded into better talent according to what the company needs. It's about raw quality and potential rather than just specific skills. Secondly, you mentioned the alignment of current and future business needs, as well as the available talent.
That being said, since you mentioned hiring the right talent and being strategic with business partners to the owners, how do you see the role of learning in allowing startups or the company you're in to navigate the constant changes and disruptions? If you hire someone with raw potential and talent, not just a specific skill set, how can learning help them succeed?
Ali: Changes and disruptions are the only things that are constant and sure to happen in the future. I believe that the role of learning is very pivotal in preparing us to tackle current and future problems.
Changes and disruptions are the only things that are constant and sure to happen in the future. I believe that the role of learning is very pivotal in preparing us to tackle current and future problems.
Let's recall back to my answer before, we need to consider potential and motivation of talents aside from their current competencies.
Having a huge potential and strong motivation means you will become more obsessively curious about the job that you're currently working on. Always hungry to learn a lot about new things. It will be easier to develop these kinds of talents rather than talents that don't have this huge hunger to learn or aren't obsessively curious about their jobs. Whenever an opportunity arises whether it be an internal or external development initiatives from the company, these talents will more likely to take parts.
It's not only one way that the role of learning is important, but it's also equally important to have people who are ready to learn within the company as well. That's what I'm trying to say.
Jaka: If I may summarize what you just shared, it is pivotal not only in honing potential and motivation but also in fulfilling the appetite of high-potential individuals to grow.
A future outlook: bringing together HR knowledge and product management
Jaka: How do you see yourself in years ahead, especially when it comes to your growth, whether it be professional or personal? Can you tell us what's in store for you?
Ali: Just like any other HR professionals, I also want to grow and become more strategic, not only in terms of position but also in terms of expertise in many other HR spectrums.
But one thing that has really caught my interest recently is becoming a product owner for HRIS. When startups grow significantly and more companies emerge, there is a greater need for the right tools, software, and apps to support their day-to-day business. However, in developing these tools, we often rely solely on product managers who may have a background in IT or product design, but not in HR.
As a person who already has experience in HR, if I become a product manager, I can serve many customers who need HRIS. I believe I can relate to them better and provide more suitable products. This way, I can have a greater impact in people's journey towards success.