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HR in Indonesia Today

Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s most populous country having over 240 million residents spread across 17,000 islands, with the nation’s capital, Jakarta, accounting for over nine million of these people. Economically it is an exciting time for the country as Indonesia is fast becoming one of the world’s major emerging economies. With a younger more tech-savvy population, Indonesia now has more than 71 million internet users, and over 20 percent of these are active on Twitter.

Historically, the main sector for growth has been Industrial & Manufacturing, but with Indonesia becoming a more consumer-led economy, and access to the internet acting as a catalyst, we are starting to see the rapid growth in the Financial & Professional; IT&T, FMCG & Retail; and Government, Nonprofit & Hospitality sectors. This shift has put a focus on developing robust and forward-thinking people strategies within these sectors.

Today’s HR Priorities

“We are looking to evolve our performance culture by developing leaders who know how to unlock the potential of their teams,” says Chika Hutauruk, Senior HR Director at Cargill in Jakarta. She is responsible for an employee population of over 20,000.

Hadiyansyah Tarmizi, HR Lead at Dow Chemical, advises companies to keep it simple: “Your focus needs to remain on retaining your top people by building capabilities and developing them as leaders.” Dow Chemical is set to go through a major integration process with DuPont this year. “While this is happening, be mindful of the movement in the market and make sure you develop that second layer that can step in when needed.”

Overcoming the Challenges Ahead: HR Career & Management Development Initiatives

The difficulty lies in recruiting the right mix of talent for your organisation and making sure the leaders currently there are being developed properly.

“The focus must be on developing senior leaders,” says Hutauruk. “We must provide them with the skills they need to be better mentors and coaches to the high potentials. This younger generation is more open, straightforward and has a level of confidence, not just in the way they communicate, but also in the way they demonstrate their capabilities.” Being able to effectively manage and guide this pocket of key employees is critical to growth and continued success.

“Don’t be afraid to create your own career path by designing your own milestones around what you want to achieve,” suggests Tarmizi. “Equip yourself with the skills and competencies required to succeed and look for a mentor who can help you calibrate your performance.”

Now is an exciting time to be working in Indonesia, and especially in the HR field. External market changes and the growth of digitalisation, which has created a consumer-focused economy, have provided many opportunities for organisations and HR to expand.


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