Exclusive: AirAsia’s rising HR star

by Miklos Bolza12 Jan 2016
After five years of working for AirAsia, Yeoh Sai Yew has been appointed as head of the people department for AirAsiaX.
 
“I’m someone who understands the AirAsia culture and how it works,” he told HRD.
 
In his new role, Yeoh will focus on operational staff, in particular how the company can raise productivity and reduce costs.
 
“What I have in mind is to look into the trends from previous years and try to understand each department’s operations to see if there is any way we can improve.”
 
He will also focus on talent development among senior management within the company.
 
“I will see how succession planning is laid out, whether there is a strong second line of talent ready to take over, and then whether there is any development or training required to build this up.”
 
The main challenge will be getting people out of their comfort zone, Yeoh said.
 
“A lot of the strategies will be how to correct mindsets or shift paradigms to this new approach.”
 
Ensuring complete understanding about what these new opportunities bring will ensure buy-in and allow complete cooperation from everyone involved, he added.
 
Yeoh is confident his experience in the company will make matters simpler when shifting staff mindsets, especially amongst senior management.
 
“I’m somebody internal who is talking to them,” he said. “This is better than securing help from somebody outside where they might think, ‘Who are you? What do you know about AirAsia?’”
 
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