If there is anyone who is right in knowing what works for the bank, it is Dato’ Hamidah who’s been with CIMB for 27 years. She has a pretty cool job title – Group Chief People Officer. Her job description mostly revolves around human resource issues but essentially Dato’ Hamidah is the go-to when it comes to making sure that CIMB employees’ interests are well served, much like a people person but in a corporate capacity.
“We grew from a boutique Malaysian investment bank with a few hundred staff to a regional universal bank with 38,000 employees in a relatively short time. In the last 11 years via mergers and acquisitions, we inherited different systems, work cultures and employees. As such, our role has evolved from a conventional HR role to a more comprehensive strategic business partnering role of managing people whilst integrating to the fourth industrial revolution,” she says.
The 4th industrial revolution here refers to the evolving work environment due to technology. In making sure that CIMB employees are ready for it, Dato’ Hamidah believes that it is more than just dealing with people but rather about embracing changes.
As to how human resource practices will help employees adapt, Dato’ Hamidah says it is about playing a vital role in facilitating those changes to continuously attract young talent as well as future-proof the current workforce. “We won’t be dealing with just humans but with robots, algorithms, artifical intelligence and such. Essentially, we need to reinvent our people to take on the new world. We want people who are curious or have an inquisitive mind, do new things, challenge the norm and are willing to navigate through today’s complex world,” she says.
Believe in yourself and the sky is your limit!
Having different roles throughout the years – in admin, corporate communications, licensing and most recently, in corporate responsibility as CEO of the CIMB Foundation – no doubt gives her valuable insight into the workings of the bank. One to cherish opportunities that come her way, Dato’ Hamidah made sure that at every role she had, she took the opportunity to learn as much as she could and also to make a difference.
This mindset is what she encourages young talent to develop as well if they want a stellar career like hers.
“You must have a desire to learn and the perseverance to stick to things that are challenging. You‘ve got to have a genuine interest in your work and in the business,” she says.
An advice she received during the early part of her career served as a reminder throughout the years, which she wishes to impart to young talent. “Believe in yourself. This was said to me by my immediate supervisor and mentor Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak. By putting it into practice, this mere three-worded advice has seen me through my challenging moments, frustrating situations, and times when my confidence and morale were running low. So to whoever reading this article: Believe in yourself and the sky is your limit!”