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The 3 Qualities Every HR Leader Must Have in 2022 feat. Shawn Wong

Shawn Wong, Vice President of Global Talent Management at Music Tribe, reveals top secrets about how she is reinventing the wheel of employee welfare at her organization. From preventing employee burnouts, to hosting global virtual events, Wong is leaving no stone unturned in cultivating a unique culture of work-life balance.

Everyone knows Shawn Wong, the HR Leader. Tell us about the other side of you that most people don’t know about. 


I’m a mother of two who enjoys exploring 1001 activities with my children to enrich their childhood while making my parenting journey worthwhile. There’s also another side of me which is rather unconventional. My passion is to design wedding gowns. I collaborate with my clients to create their dream gowns and make their wedding memories last a lifetime. I am a true supporter of work-life balance and I believe that anyone can have a winning career, indulge in a hobby and yet manage time for their family. It’s just a matter of finding an equilibrium that suits your needs, because honestly, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

When you’re not working, what do you like to spend your time doing?

I am an inquisitive person. Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve been exploring Nagomi art, line art, kalimba, steel tongue drum and even rekindled my long-forgotten love for harmonica. This ‘me time’ allows me to zoom out from work and life challenges, fully immerse myself in calming experiences and eventually connect with my inner self.

“Heard about Amber and it looks interesting! To think that we are able to gauge employee sentiment via a personalized employee experience bot simply bring this topic to a greater level!”

What are the top 3 fundamental skills every leader in an organization must practice?

#1 Strategic Thinking - I believe that every leader must be able to envision holistic approaches for dealing with both short term and long term challenges. As an organization, while quick wins pacify the current crisis, uprooting real causes is pivotal to sustain for a long time. One will not work without the other, hence it must go hand-in-hand. A strategic people leader can provide you with a framework that addresses both.   

#2 Growth mindset - The only constant is change. One way to make ourselves indispensable to an organisation is to become relevant to the business. A wise leader will continuously challenge themself and their people; unlearn and relearn in order to keep up with the pace of this competitive world.

#3 Strategic Networking -  According to me, organizational processes move faster, seamlessly and in a more productive fashion when people like each other. As people leaders, we are here to curate a network where collaboration and synergy produce consistently great results. Fostering agreeableness ensures long-term sustainability in any relationship; hence, it is crucial for us to master the art of networking within as well as outside of our organization. 

At MusicTribe, which aspects of employee experience have been most important to you since the pandemic hit?

 The pandemic hit us hard at a global scale and too many lives were directly and indirectly affected. Although our financial performance looks healthy, we recognized signs of burnouts and emotional turmoils amongst Tribers and the repercussions of the same. At Music Tribe, we pride ourselves in having a rich diversity with respect to nationality, ethnicity and experiences. Keeping that in mind, each employee initiative we offer takes into consideration cultural sensitivity and appropriateness.

The Heart division aka HR at Music Tribe has put together a holistic strategy to regulate our employee experience during the pandemic by focusing on these select few elements - employee wellbeing, appreciation, engagement and safety.

In the last few months, we amped up our efforts of catering to our employees’ physical and emotional well being by putting together a series of well-being programs, webinars and a global emotional helpline. In order to strengthen the camaraderie within Tribers, we actively promote our online reward and engagement platform to encourage a culture of appreciation. We’re sure that our timely events like virtual appreciation get-togethers, international football leagues and trivia contests are a catalyst for better team bonding.

We also recently launched a Pulse Survey to better understand our employee sentiment and identify underlying issues. This eventually enabled us to alleviate some of the challenges faced by each entity. In fact, some interesting insights from the survey actually brought us on to a path of re-engineering our Core Values, which will be launched pretty soon! We are inviting all our people to #BetheTribe, and join us on a quest to create a positive workplace environment with the help of these values: 

One of the most important - and ongoing - efforts we put in place was to ensure that we get our people vaccinated and emphasize on the importance of vaccination. We are now in the midst of preparing for a post-pandemic back-to-work strategy that will help our people return to physical offices steadily with all safety measurements in place. 

With all these efforts, we are aiming for a workplace culture where ‘you turn up to work because you want to, not because you have to’. 

Do you have any favourite fellow HR leaders in Malaysia whose mission and initiatives you appreciate? 

I don’t have a particular HR leader in Malaysia whom I follow but I do recognize a prominent CXO from Roche (Mr. Lance Duan). I have followed their cultural transformation journey for the past three years. I must say I am impressed with their cultural transformation journey under the able  leadership of this gentleman.   


Lakshmi Devan
Lakshmi Devan
You've probably chuckled at something she wrote on Linkedin. An unfriendly, non-sassy, lethargic, dog-hating woman in her sixties. Kidding. Make that moderately friendly, conspicuously sassy, significantly energetic, and massively dog-loving. She is often described as a sexagenarian stuck in a vicenarian’s body – a potpourri of convoluted identities and feelings.

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