Jolin Nguyen’s profound belief in the value of HR has driven her to help companies optimise their HR departments. What’s your story? I started my career with AYP Group in August 2016 as a digital marketing executive. At the end of my first year, Jacob Lieu, our co-founder, suggested that my personality would be very suitable for sales. Never one to back away from a challenge, I took the opportunity head-on. Within my first three months, I was given the chance to close one of our biggest clients at the time. I challenged myself further, taking up my first leadership role as a sales and marketing manager and progressed to become AYP Group’s General Manager back in 2019. What excites you most about your industry? AYP Group is a HR technology solution provider that helps companies to manage hybrid work, and we believe in the power of HR to positively impact human lives. HR plays a crucial role in any organisation’s success and when an organisation experiences change, the HR department would be first to adapt and embrace that change. The uncertainty of the pandemic left many HR practitioners scrambling. The role of HR has never been more important than it is today. HR has to evolve to effectively manage the future of work for many organisations and our solution was created for this reason. What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal? At AYP Group, we are always constantly pushing ourselves and pushing our limits, but we will always remain rooted in our belief in our direction and purpose. This was a value treasured by our founder, Annie Yap, and has become a motto in how we perceive challenges and obstacles in our way. As an organisation, we strive to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, to embrace change and risk that comes with growth and scale. To support our belief, we backed it up with a goal, a plan, a desire and the confidence to execute. What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey? To exercise continuous learning with a growth mindset is very important for a leader. A growth mindset allows one to identify opportunities even within a crisis. I see every day in AYP Group as an opportunity for me to acquire new knowledge. In a volatile and uncertain environment, we have to remain open and receptive to learning to ensure that we are best able to serve an ever-changing market. Learning will also allow us to continuously innovate and progress to be the best in the space of hybrid workforce management. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? A leader is as strong as her core values. Core values are the hallmarks of a good leader. Humility, courage, and tenacity are some of the core values I have picked up from Annie. A humble and empathetic leader will be able to filter out crisis situations and focus on the opportunities available to them. A courageous leader does not overly concern themselves about the things that are beyond their control and focus on the issues that are more relevant. A tenacious leader is able to persevere through obstacles and doubt, focusing to exert their efforts on making positive change. Who inspires you? Annie Yap, the Founder and Executive Chairman of AYP, is my biggest supporter and inspiration. With over 20 years of experience, Annie has taught me so much about the industry and on how to be an effective leader. The values that she has imparted unto us remains as tenets of the culture in AYP Group. What have you learnt recently that blew you away? At AYP Group, we are currently undertaking reorganization to increase overall efficiency and strengthen some of our key departments which are data, technology and customer experience. Leveraging on data analytics, we help our clients to make smarter and faster decisions through the data of their workforce. From this experience, I’ve learnt that everyone out there is where they are either because of determination or procrastination. To bring the company forward, I had to be comfortable with challenging myself constantly whilst embracing the uncertainties ahead. Uncertainty is the only constant, but what’s more important than the result, would be the process. If you had your time again, what would you do differently? There would not be a lot of things that I would do differently. But if I had to choose, it would be to worry less about the things that might not happen. Rather, I would want to focus that energy and that time to believe, create, grow and heal on the things that I can control. Personal and professional growth is important to me – and I would want to spend a lot more time on self development. So many people from your past know a different version of you. And that to me is the beauty of personal growth. How do you unwind? Above all else – to breathe and take a step back. Beyond that, my husband is my greatest source of comfort. I would always go to my husband because I definitely feel better after I talk about what’s on my mind to someone. In the strangest way, his replies always heal me instantly every single time. He truly understands me, avoiding the ‘cliche’ – ‘it’s okay, you will be fine’. Rather, he would say things like “if it’s not difficult, anyone could have done it”. Just like that, it will magically give me enough strength to go on. What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business? Our platform was born out of a personal pain point. Like other business owners, my biggest struggle in expanding overseas was adhering with the laws and culture of the country. While I enjoy the learning that the experience entails, I’ve found the process inefficient, time-consuming and requires familiarity of the language and culture. To address these concerns, AYP solution was created to enable speedy entry into other markets utilizing the talents in that geography – significantly shortening market entry duration (from months to days), and allow these organisations to tap on a wider pool of talents. Everyone in business should read this book: There are many great books but if I had to recommend one it would be ‘Dare to Lead’ by Brené Brown. Leadership is never easy, and I’m always searching for ways to be a better leader. As a younger leader before, I hated uncomfortable and difficult conversations and they were always something that I used to run away from. Brown’s book has helped me greatly in getting out of my comfort zone, to face obstacles that challenges us head-on. Brown highlights that courage is teachable, measurable and observable, and that we all have the capacity to learn it. Shameless plug for your business: AYP Group is an award-winning provider of technology HR solutions, helping more than 500,000 mid-sized to large businesses manage their remote and hybrid workforce in Asia Pacific. We strive to lead the future of work and change the way companies manage their hybrid workforce. Our cloud-based platform for hybrid workforce management encapsulates all of our unique offerings into one convenient platform. We are a team dedicated to our craft of bringing simplicity and convenience to HR practitioners all over the region. Embracing technology, but rooted in our HR Foundations, we strive to provide tomorrow’s HR solutions, today. How can people connect with you? Happy to get connected on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jolin-nguyen-558655126/ Social Media Links? Website: https://ayp-group.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AYPGroupSG/ Instagram: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ayp-associates-pte-ltd/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/ayp_group This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.
Jolin Nguyen – Managing Director of AYP Group
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