Elise Loh: An Accomplished Hr Professional Driving Organizational Success With Employee Engagement

Elise Loh: An Accomplished Hr Professional Driving Organizational Success With Employee Engagement

Elise Loh
Chief People Officer

In the current HR industry of township development companies in Malaysia, several trends are shaping the landscape. Companies are increasingly focusing on fostering diversity and inclusion, promoting employee well-being and mental health, and adapting to the post-COVID work environment. Emphasis is also on attracting and retaining top talent through competitive compensation and innovative employee engagement strategies. HR leaders are utilizing technology and data analytics to streamline processes and enhance decision-making, while also prioritizing continuous learning and development opportunities for their workforce. Elise Loh is the Chief People Officer (CPO) at NAIM, a prominent township developer and contractor in Malaysia. Elise Loh is a dynamic and experienced leader in Human Resources, known for her ability to navigate complex challenges and drive positive change.

As a Chief People Officer, she has shouldered the responsibilities of fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment, managing change in the face of evolving landscapes, and challenging societal expectations placed on women in leadership roles. Let’s get to know more.

Tell us about the prior industry experience that you bring to the table and explain how it empowers you to be a better leader today.

I bring a unique perspective to my role as the Chief People Officer (CPO) at NAIM. While my academic specialization lies in education, my career path led me to the field of human resources (HR). I began my journey in education as a lecturer at a local university before venturing into HR at Suria KLCC, a member of KLCC Properties Group, and a top property developer in Malaysia.

I joined Suria KLCC as a trainer, in tandem with the establishment of a pioneering retail-focused Assessment and Training Centre (ATC), where I pioneered training & development programs for our retail partners. Subsequently, I was entrusted to head the Assessment and Training Centre (ATC), managing both organizational HR support and retail partners’ people and sales consultancy.

Throughout my 14-year journey, I have gained expertise across various industries, including insurance, property development, construction, engineering, retail, and more.These experiences have equipped me with a comprehensive understanding of HR functions, ranging from learning and development to recruitment, talent and performance management, culture, and strategy. My ability to adapt, build relationships, and remain agile has been instrumental in overcoming challenges and driving success. By leveraging my prior industry experience, I am empowered to lead with a holistic approach, nurturing a diverse and collaborative work environment that maximizes employee potential and drives organizational growth.

“Elise is inspiring transformation, driving excellence, & shaping a future of empowered leadership in the corporate world”

Please provide us with an introduction to NAIM and what are the major responsibilities you shoulder as the firm's CPO.

NAIM Holdings is an investment-holding company focused on integrated property development, construction civil engineering, infrastructure projects, and oil and gas services. Arguably one of the largest names in property development in Sarawak. NAIM Success comes from beliefs in making positive investments, and looking to build value for and with the community. As the Chief People Officer (CPO) at NAIM, my role encompasses strategizing and driving sustainable people transformation strategy and positive human capital growth. My main responsibility is to spearhead the organization's people agenda. This includes developing and implementing HR strategies, policies, and programs to attract, retain, and develop a talented workforce, in addition to managing employee relations, ensuring compliance with labor laws, and driving initiatives related to talent acquisition, performance management, training and development, compensation and benefits, and employee engagement.

I strive to create a culture that values diversity, empowers individuals, and encourages continuous growth and learning. By aligning our people strategies with the company's vision, I aim to cultivate a high-performing workforce that contributes to NAIM's overall success.

As a leader in Human Resources, what are the most significant challenges you face? How do you approach overcoming these obstacles in your role?

Despite humble beginnings and numerous hardships, I have persevered. During university, I worked two jobs – as a clerk and waiter – to support myself financially. It was tough to balance work and school, but I remained dedicated to academic excellence. I excelled in my studies, making the dean's list and earning a scholarship that eased my financial burden. Life's hardships have become the foundation of my resilience and determination in the workplace.

As a leader in Human Resources, I have faced significant challenges shaped by societal expectations of women in leadership roles. The belief that women should always be empathetic and forgiving conflicts with the objective decision-making required in HR. Overcoming this, I learned to separate my emotions and biases, making fair and just decisions even if they weren't always popular. I resisted the pressure to be louder and forceful, instead choosing to rationalize and explain decisions objectively, earning respect through communication rather than fear.

In today's dynamic landscape, change management has become a major challenge. To address this, I embraced a proactive approach, anticipating and communicating the need for change before it became urgent. This minimized reactive firefighting, allowing for strategic and comprehensive change implementation. Adapting to the post-COVID environment, AI disruption, gig economy, and talent scarcity required early identification of potential issues, leading to smoother transitions.

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) agenda is close to my heart, however, true equality goes beyond discussions of gender or identity-based differences. I aim to create a workplace culture that naturally embraces equality. Celebrating diversity, challenging biases, and promoting inclusivity are the keys to fostering a truly equal and inclusive society. By encouraging open dialogue and fair treatment for all individuals, regardless of their background, we can move towards a future where equality is an inherent aspect of our organizations and communities.

Tell us about the top three professional milestones you have achieved throughout your professional journey.

Throughout my professional journey, I have achieved several significant milestones. Firstly, successfully led a major organizational restructuring initiative, resulting in improved efficiency and cost savings. Secondly, implementing a comprehensive talent development program that enhanced employee skills and career progression. Lastly, spearheaded a successful diversity and inclusion campaign, fostering a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture. These milestones have not only contributed to the success of the organizations I've worked with but also shaped my growth as an HR leader.

Elise Loh, CPO, Naim Holdings

A visionary leader, empowering teams to achieve greatness through strategic guidance and fostering a culture of innovation.