You have risen through the ranks during your 27 years at UPS, starting as an ocean freight customer representative, and ending up as MD. What’s the most important lesson you have learned over your career?
Believe in yourself and never stop learning. If I have to pinpoint one thing to learn, I would say that people need to be fearless – to step out of their comfort zone and never stop challenging themselves to excel at new things. Being prepared to do that will increase your self confidence and bring further opportunities.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I think whether a person holds a senior position in a company or not, it’s always important to remember to treat people genuinely. For me, that means going to the frontline and talking to my staff to understand the support they need in order to do their job. It’s important for the management to show respect to their staff. In return, staff will likely be willing to go an extra mile for the company.
You were born and bred in mainland China. Have you adjusted your management style to fit Hong Kong?
I might be working in a different city geographically but one of the many great things about UPS is that the company is full of open-minded people willing to help and support each other. From a personal perspective, I’ve been fortunate to have so many opportunities and experiences that have helped me learn and evolve my management style.
Describe your ideal chief human resources officer.
I would say someone who truly cares about people and their development. Someone who works hard, works smart and keeps learning – but that’s also the advice I give to all people who want to be successful. And remember, everyone has their unique characteristics and charisma, so be yourself and don’t worry about being different from others. Show what you can do and never accept labels that don’t fit.
How has COVID-19 impacted the logistics industry? What are your priorities this year?
Closed borders and widely adopted work-from-home policies have forced a lot of industries to adjust to new operating norms.
As UPS is a ‘designated critical infrastructure’ business, we are grateful to be serving our communities and providing delivery services to our customers to help them through this unusual time.
We want to ensure that our staff receive the support that they need. For instance, we give frequent updates to let our employees know that we are closely monitoring events across the world and will keep them up to date on developments. Our work-from-home arrangement was extended to as many employees as possible to allow more flexibility for them to handle their work. And we have also helped employees to manage the impact of the disruption on their lives.
Building resilience and ensuring safety will now be our top priorities and we sincerely hope that the support we have given to our employees will help make them feel more secure.
What do you think needs to be done to encourage greater female representation and leadership in the logistics industry?
At UPS, we focus on building inclusive hiring and work environment and we widen the talent pool by creating women-focused talent retention programmes. With specific mentorship and learning and development commitments by senior leaders, we can help grow the number of female talents reaching senior leadership positions. Promoting women’s success stories is also critical as it will help to encourage more female participants in the logistics industry.
What is your advice for HR leaders who want to make it to the top?
To do well in any sector, you have to accumulate experience and knowledge, which is a combination of understanding the industry and knowing yourself. Be curious, always wonder, and try to learn more. Be genuinely interested in people: Human resources deals with people so you can say that is a prerequisite.
Be prepared to meet a hugely diverse range of people. The more senior you become, the more likely you will interact with people from all kinds of cultures and backgrounds.