“People Mentality Inc (PMI) operates as the Avengers of HR where we deliver progressive HR solutions through an ecosystem of HR Practitioners, HR Tech Partners and Trainers/Facilitators.”
While many show strong passion for their profession, it is not an everyday occurrence that you hear someone proclaiming a company as an Avenger.
Indeed, Sam is a unique individual who demonstrates a great passion for the HR profession. Despite having a well-established HR career, He admirably made the jump to build his own business, People Mentality Inc and further his passions.
Working In The Corporate Sector
In his first 6 years after graduation, Sam worked for Keppel and Changi Airport Group in different HR roles.
These experiences have shaped him in many positive ways. As a hungry learner himself, he not only excelled in his own role but constantly pursued other work scopes as well.
“I offered to take on more roles than I was expected to take on, and even beyond my scope of work because I really wanted to learn more. I thought I wanted to explore and stretch myself to see if I’m good.”
And stretch himself he did. His passion for learning was evident in the additional work he pursued.
In Keppel, while he started as a generalist in recruitment and staff engagement, he was later given opportunities to manage the Keppel Care Foundation and took on Keppel Volunteers role, among others.
It was also these additional opportunities that truly piqued his desires to do more, outside of the corporate world.
“My experience in the corporate sector was a large part when I started thinking ‘Hey I want to give back more, I want to make more difference to not just the company itself, but the community at large, the organisations and the society at large’. That’s where the more altruistic kind of perspective came about, because of my interactions outside of work.”
Start of People Mentality
Motivated from his time in the corporate sector, Sam finally built People Mentality Inc in 2016. This was aimed at making a greater impact on the HR profession and community.
As Sam explains, “At People Mentality, we are a HR advocacy firm. The sole purpose of the platform is really to showcase what HR is all about and its impact on business that goes beyond just transactions.”
With this purpose in mind, Sam set out to pursue HR advocacy through different channels:
“Through consultancy work, I work on actual cases and build stories around it to advocate what HR is all about.”
- Public Speaking and Training
“There’s also public speaking, training with different kinds of platforms where I get to communicate to a larger audience what I am doing and some of the success stories that I have.”
- Content Development
“The last part of course is content development, in terms of my blogs. People Mentality TV is coming up, it’s a Youtube channel that I’m starting end-May 2018, to showcase some of the good practices in the market by interviewing business leaders, HR leaders.”
Development of People Mentality Inc
As People Mentality Inc worked towards its goals, Sam is also well aware of the different stakeholders and factors that have played key roles in his professional journey.
“First and foremost, I was definitely lucky to some extent, where I was given opportunities to try this and that, and of course good bosses along the way who made things happen.”
“Family support I think is something that is very important, having a family behind you. So you don’t have to worry but know that in any case, if something fails, you have something to fall back on. Family support to me is my drive.”
“I’m lucky to also have really good mentors, that guided me along the way, about the direction of my career. They were ones who showed me the path, the ones who helped me think through again what I want and encourage me towards the purpose.”
“There’s also the community at large. After being involved in various HR communities, it started to get me feeling that I’m not alone in this battle, that I want to make a difference, and there are many people in the market that wants to as well. I feel this support, and it’s a very nice and warm feeling, something that is pushing you ahead, support so that you can go further.”
“There are also partners in the market, for example firms such as HRM Asia that have helped quite a bit from the start. From the beginning when I was a nobody, they helped publish my articles and invited me to become a regular blogger and that’s where more people paid attention to what I said. That’s probably a partner that helped me grow my career and one that I’m grateful to as well.
With his wealth of experience and knowledge in HR, Sam also revealed some career tips that will definitely be useful for students and fresh graduates alike.
- Being Future-Proof
When it comes to decisions in education and careers, one has to aim for the future instead of the present.
Sam first advises that to be future-proof, one has to look beyond the ever changing trends and instead focus on oneself.
“First, it is important to look inside rather than look outside. Looking inside means understanding your strengths first, what are you good at, what are you passionate about, which are the areas you really think you can make a difference. Then there you can choose your options.”
- Having Mentors
Next, he also emphasizes that having mentors are key as they have walked the path before.
“They can advise you and help you see things that you don’t quite see yet. Sometimes as a fresh graduate you can be overly optimistic about everything without knowing everything. These mentors kind of put a reality check, which is important to some extent. These are people that can be your sounding board, your support network which you need when things get a bit tough on this journey.”
He also encourages looking for communities to broaden one’s mindset and knowledge.
“(Communities help you understand that) there is more than what you see in the organization, helps you break away from the silo mindset and helps you know that there are like-minded people around that you can speak to, collaborate and learn from and collectively grow together.”
- Giving Mindset
Fresh graduates tend to focus on showcasing themselves, high salary, and what the companies can offer.
Instead, graduates should think about what they can give, what value they can contribute, which ties in nicely with the previous point about looking inside oneself.
“From my experience, when you are able to give, people see the value. Without you even expecting it, a lot of people value you and a lot of help comes to you. My giving mindset, this accelerated my growth quite a lot in my career.”
Personal Branding Tips
Sam also delved deeper into personal branding for young job seekers, and shared tips on how they can differentiate themselves among job seekers today.
In addition to having a good resume, Sam offers that giving back is perhaps the best way to differentiate oneself and grow a personal brand.
Giving back allows for people to “know you for something” and to “know what kind of value you bring”, building a personal brand as a result.
“For example myself, people always see me as someone who is always giving back in HR communities… To me actions speaks louder than words, it’s not just you telling people that ‘Hey, I’m an enthusiastic guy’, people don’t see it. You need to showcase your actions by giving.”
Another important aspect about branding that he emphasized is storytelling. This is related to how one relates his personal day to day examples through simple stories and values that he/she shares.
“That’s really powerful, because stories are unique to individuals; no one experiences exactly the same stories. So these are unique to yourself, and through stories you can build unique stories that stand out of the rest.”
Sam also outlined three key goals for People Mentality Inc in the future. While his ultimate goal as a HR avenger is naturally to educate what HR is really all about, he breaks it down to a few smaller goals.
“First of all is to showcase that HR is not destined to be a support function, we can also be one that works together with the C-suite level to make a real difference to the organization.
Second is to showcase (that) Asia-wise we also have good practices and practitioners that we can showcase to the rest of the world.
Third, to showcase to younger people who are considering a start or a switch, that HR is not a boring support function; by going to conferences, starting a Youtube channel, writing articles, pursuing partnerships, just to showcase the point that HR can be fun. There are many possibilities beyond. There are many different ways to grow this as a career.”
Finally, Sam leaves with perhaps his most important advice.
“Give before you think about taking. Because when you give, that’s when a lot of special things happen.”
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