SHRI Member Spotlight – Harold Kwan

Harold Kwan is the Founder/Managing Principal of HK3 Asia.  He works with a network of Strategic Alliances Team in Asia to support his Global USA and European Partners’ multinational clients with operating sites in ASEAN/APAC.  He holds a MSc in HRM from Rutgers University-USA, is a Key Account Holder (KAH) from the Ministry of Manpower and received the Leading HR Entrepreneur (Special Mention) Award from the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI).  Prior to HK3 Asia, Harold was the Founder & CEO of HRM3 Asia Pte Ltd (2000- 2015).  

At HK3 Asia, they partner with local and regional top teams to rebuild organizations and recruit and right-size manpower the right way. Facilitating organizational change. Helping executives gain the right career mindset and tool-set to achieve greater career success. Coaching executives to become better managers and leaders. Designing Strategic Business Human Capital Solutions.

How would you explain your job to someone outside of HR?

Assisting executives successfully with their career transformations has been my passion and the most rewarding work I do. If there is any interest, I am happy to offer the first three persons to contact me at a 15-minute free consultation about their career transition plans.

What’s something about you or your job that would surprise us?

Realising that after over 30 years managing HR in various MNC organizations, the fundamentals and substance of Human Resource Management remains largely relevant even today, be it for Recruitment & Selection, Total Rewards, Learning-Training-Development, Environment-Health-Safety, Employee Relations/Industrial Relations, etc. Though the form may have undergone and will continue to undergo changes due to several environmental factors – so it is like “old wine in a new bottle”?

For me, I have been an SHRI (previously known as SIPM) member since 1979. To keep fit, I have developed a 30-minute exercise series for breathing, stretching, power and stamina-building exercises which I am happy to share with anyone who wishes to practise them. After spending over 20 years assisting executives and senior management personnel in transforming their careers, I am hoping to finish writing a book on “So What Do You Want To Do?” with practical content that will draw insights from my life career coaching experiences revolving around successful Career Mindset and Toolset!

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far

Reminiscing the fun, successes, failures, learning, sharing and togetherness which I am so fortunate to have with so many people during my HR Career Journey thus far. After decades of my HR Life, I had the opportunity to interact with thousands of students in classes, colleagues in my teams, fellow HR Practitioners in conferences, business clients and friends in the HR community. It gives me great satisfaction and pride whenever I get reconnected with these folks who are now very successful in their careers holding Local, Regional and Global Leadership roles!

The other career highlight worth sharing perhaps was when I received The Leading HR Entrepreneur Award (Special Mention) from the Singapore HR Institute (SHRI). So I am very fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to learn, share and contribute in the corporate, consulting and entrepreneurial business environments. As for the Award, it was like a bonus to me but more importantly, I felt the significance is that it raises the awareness of how far HR practitioners can scale in our HR Career Journey!

What’s an HR trend or space you’re watching this year?

Perhaps about how the post-covid pandemic and digitalization of HR will impact and influence the workforce and workplace practices. One obvious HR trend challenging HR practitioners will be redefining HR policies in several HR areas of practice to manage work practices for employees working from home (WFH), On-site or in a Hybrid arrangement. Relating to this HR Trend, it will be interesting to watch the shifting of employees’ career mindset, given the different demographics of employees and their changing needs. For example, how should individuals look at jobs – continue to view joining an organization as an employee or viewing oneself as a sole proprietor providing an important value to the organizations? Another interesting trend emerging is “how should one view retirement?” given that we are living longer because of medical advances and individuals are more aware of healthier habits!

What advice would you give someone starting in HR?

Be a Life Long Learner. Be curious. Keep an open mind. Listen more. Stay away from negative people as they have a problem for every solution. Network to expand your contacts. Consider having an HR Career Coach. If you are just starting, volunteer to gain experience and not worry too much about how much you will be paid. Go for specialised HR training. Then in the longer term, having gained much from others and the community, make time to give back to the community and individuals who can then benefit from your experiences!

What’s one thing you can keep talking about for hours?

The power of networking – as someone put it “if you are not networking then you are not working!” Experienced and successful people have found inculcating a habit to build and sustain the right network of people can impact your career and life journey. One important lesson I discovered about networking is not just about what you know and who you know, but who really knows you!

What’s your favourite movie/TV show?

Besides watching the various global news channels to stay abreast of what’s going on around the world, I love watching movies with great story insights and plots.

What’s your go-to lunch around your workplace?

I don’t really have lunches at any special places. Often using lunches as an opportunity to catch up friends, clients and others over simple meals at various locations. Yummy local hawker food places are my preference over fanciful restaurants.

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