Experience new Perspectives in Singapore
When Sandra Keller, a specialist in the HR department at FUCHS PETROLUB, was offered the newly created position of Regional HR Manager for the India and Southeast Asia region, she did not think twice. She moved to Singapore in October 2014 and has never once regretted her decision.
"I was only too glad to seize this opportunity as it allowed me to bring my expertise and experience from Mannheim to this new position, while at the same time building something new," she says, summarizing her motivation. "It was also a real challenge demonstrating how important and worthwhile it is for the development of the FUCHS subsidiaries to have a Regional HR Manager in place." Sandra Keller assumed responsibility for HR in six countries – Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan, as well as Singapore – first beginning to gather information on the status quo of HR work in Southeast Asia. "My area of focus was largely connected with the Finance department, which is also responsible for employee remuneration," explains Keller. Two years in, she has now put in place a series of mechanisms for professional HR work, ranging from the creation of job profiles and the introduction of a standardized interview format to the definition of training procedures. "We have also increased our focus on employee development," says Keller. "We have launched a regional FUCHS Academy offering seminars and, for example, an English language training course." She adds that, in her experience, the main priorities within HR in Asia are quite different to those in Europe. Health management and flexible working models, such as part-time working for mothers, have not yet come into play in Asia.
Sandra Keller’s day-to-day work involves close on-site cooperation with FUCHS subsidiaries. She is on the road for half of the week, which gives her the chance to familiarize herself with the different working environments and fascinating aspects of Asian cultures.
And what is life like for an expat in a city like Singapore? "I already knew the area from visiting it on various holidays, I was given a very friendly welcome by my new colleagues and I was accompanied on the move by my partner, who also works in Singapore, so it didn’t take long for me to feel settled in Singapore," says the young HR specialist. "Also, the city is the perfect bridge between East and West, with its high number of foreign inhabitants, and it makes an ideal base for exploring the neighboring countries." Sandra Keller likes the diverse feel of the city and enjoys wandering through the Chinese, Indian and Arabic quarters, sampling the different culinary treats on offer. Now and then, she likes to take a weekend trip to another country in the region. She adds: "I have also recently taken up yoga, so I spend a lot of my free time doing that."
The assignment is set to last three years in total. "I find it really exciting working here and being able to experience different cultures and new perspectives," says Sandra Keller, drawing a positive conclusion. Of course, she is also pleased that her assignment has been a complete success in terms of her career. A Regional HR Manager position is now also in the pipeline for the FUCHS subsidiaries in Eastern Europe.