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Malaysia-born Jeff Tang, who was a banker, HR leader, and managing director before joining EY, speaks passionately to Human Resources about his career journey and his aspiration to make an impact on individuals and societies. On his desk is his computer, clients’ files and pictures of his sons. He welcomes his team to use his room for meetings.

Describe your typical workday.

I typically spend my mornings taking time to reflect. Then, I ask my team about their evenings and sometimes I grab coffee with them. I also make a conscious effort to say hello and engage with the tea ladies. A lot of people walk past them and don’t ask simple questions, such as “have you eaten?”

As you progress as a leader, never never never ignore people on the ground, those who make your life a lot more bearable.

For the rest of the day, I work on clients’ cases and have meetings with regional leaders.

Why did you decide to come to Hong Kong and why did you decide to stay?

When I was at my previous job, I travelled the world for work. The amount of travelling – after a certain point – became too much. Since the company’s regional leadership team is based in Hong Kong, I came here. I also like exploring new experiences because I can learn new things, even though that may not be comfortable. I love Hong Kong. I have lived in London, Malaysia and Singapore, and Hong Kong is so unique. It’s vibrant and diverse. There is no typical Hong Kong.

Advice for HR when the pandemic in Hong Kong is contained. 

The world is changing. We can never go back to where it was before. The ways of working will change. Open your mind and learn new ways of doing things.

HR cannot wait for things to happen, and frankly, I believe post-COVID-19, HR will be elevated to the heart of the conversation.

I urge HR to brace for this disruption and start working in an agile manner.You need to stay ahead of the curve. Let’s make the change before letting the change in business control you.