Razman Ismail: Charting a Path to Success in HR

In the realm of Human Resources (HR), the journey from novice to seasoned professional is often an odyssey filled with experiences that shape one’s perspective. Razman Ismail, the Chief People Officer at UEM Edgenta Berhad (UEMEd), is an embodiment of this journey, armed with over 25 years of invaluable experience and insights.

Razman is not just an HR professional but a guide to the aspiring, offering pearls of wisdom on various facets of success. His unique perspective emphasizes holistic success, the power of technology, turning challenges into opportunities, and the essence of leadership marked by integrity and empathy. 

As the spearhead of HR and administration at UEMEd, a prominent asset management and infrastructure solutions company, Razman’s role is multifaceted. His responsibilities demand sustainable and scalable solutions, but Razman goes beyond the boardroom; he believes in giving back to the community and nurturing talent.

Razman’s venture into the HR domain was no abrupt shift but a gradual transition, stemming from his management degree. His educational choices inadvertently led him to a career dedicated to HR, where he delved deep into its various dimensions and undertook diverse roles. This journey enriched his ability to understand people, a pivotal skill in HR. 

Like all HR professionals, Razman has encountered numerous challenges, both personal and professional. Instead of viewing these hurdles as setbacks, he regards them as guiding markers that propel him toward a specific destination. He shares insights on how to confront and conquer these challenges.

Razman’s career revolves around harnessing the power of technology and innovation to drive strategic HR initiatives. He also sheds light on how UEMEd fosters a culture of integrity and innovation, enabling them to stay ahead in a world that’s rapidly embracing the digital realm.

Central to Razman’s professional ethos is a commitment to giving back to the community. He champions this cause, weaving it into the fabric of his career and making it a driving force behind his HR strategies.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Optimizing Assets and Enhancing Lives

UEM Ed stands as a prominent figure in Malaysia’s Asset Management and Infrastructure Solutions sector, driven by a resolute vision: “Optimise Assets and Improve Lives.” The company’s diverse array of services encompasses Healthcare Support, Property and facility Solutions in the Asset Management realm, and Infrastructure Services, coupled with Asset Consultancy within the Infrastructure Solutions domain. UEM Ed’s overarching goal is to elevate people’s quality of life by delivering sustainable solutions that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of infrastructure assets. Their reach extends across Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Notably, UEM Ed is not just a rapidly expanding enterprise with a strong focus on innovation and technology. Its dedicated individuals take immense pride in their work, serving the community while consistently delivering top-notch results. The Edgenta People Promise, encapsulated by the motto “Innovate to serve a greater purpose,” is the guiding philosophy that shapes every Edgenta Star’s journey.

The company’s ethos revolves around four pillars, each contributing to a meaningful mission of creating value and serving the community: “We Serve, We Lead, We Innovate, and We Care.” Edgenta Stars, in their roles, are unwavering in their commitment to this purpose. They embrace a future-focused mindset, constantly seeking innovative avenues, respecting one another, actively solving problems, and honoring their commitments.

These values are not confined to a code of conduct; rather, they are brought to life daily by each and every employee, forming the very heart of UEM Ed’s open and positive corporate culture.

Evolution of Success

Razman believes that the definition of success is a dynamic concept that evolves over the years, influenced by changing priorities at different life stages. He reflects, “Right after college, success was all about securing a job with a reputable organization. A few years down the road, success meant excelling in various roles within HR and eventually attaining a leadership position. This was followed by the responsibilities of work and family when my wife and I welcomed our eldest child.”

In subsequent years, success took on a different meaning for Razman. It shifted towards making a positive impact on people’s lives. With extensive experience in HR, he found that true fulfillment didn’t come from just achieving personal or organizational goals but from going the extra mile. Success, for him, meant nurturing the growth of others, particularly young talents.

Razman’s profound commitment lies in sharing his knowledge and mentoring the next generation of leaders at UEM Edgenta Berhad. His vision is fueled by a deep-seated desire to leave a positive mark on people’s lives. On a personal level, he discovers contentment in witnessing his family’s growth, their development of skills and knowledge, and their independent choices in education and future careers. In his current stage of life, success is synonymous with creating a positive and professional legacy for those who follow.

How Razman Found His Way into HR

For many individuals, a career path is a deliberate choice, but Razman stumbled into the field of HR quite unexpectedly. His journey began when he applied for a degree in management, a decision largely influenced by his best friend (who currently holds the position of Chief People Officer in another organization). Both friends embarked on their HR careers together. It’s no surprise that Razman’s initial role was in HR consulting, where he was tasked with problem-solving and providing solutions to various business challenges, particularly those related to talent, culture, and organizational issues. This experience offered him the opportunity to explore different aspects of HR while actively addressing real-time business concerns.

Perspective on Growth

Razman readily admits that challenges can be incredibly draining. However, in his view, how one responds to these challenges is of utmost importance. It often comes down to the classic dilemma of “fight or flight”—the decision to confront challenges head-on or determine when it’s time to move on. There’s no definitive right or wrong answer, and the key is to make the appropriate choice when faced with such situations. Taking a moment to contemplate challenges can reveal pathways to surmount them. This pause for reflection and self-introspection is a crucial part of the learning process.

For Razman, this process of reflection is an essential step in conquering challenges. He firmly believes that gaining insight is vital for overcoming obstacles, and such insight can only be acquired through knowledge and experience. By effectively leveraging this knowledge, individuals can expedite their journey to overcome challenges and achieve success more swiftly. This approach proves to be invaluable when navigating through various life situations.

Fostering a Positive Workplace Culture

Razman, an accomplished HR leader, places a strong emphasis on developing and implementing innovative HR strategies. These strategies are crafted to nurture a work environment that is not only safe and positive but also conducive to heightened employee engagement and organizational growth. While Razman’s career journey has been marked by challenges such as resistance to change, budget constraints, and talent shortages, he views these experiences as valuable opportunities for growth. Through his extensive work with people, Razman has gained profound insights that inform his decision-making.

He understands that some individuals naturally embrace change, while others may approach it with caution based on prior experiences. Razman perceives these challenges as learning opportunities that have taught him the importance of collaboration, perseverance, and strategic thinking in achieving goals. As an HR leader, he is dedicated to enabling his team to learn, develop, and realize their potential. For Razman, creating a meaningful workplace goes beyond task completion; it involves fostering a secure environment where authenticity and growth thrive.

A Culture of Integrity and Innovation

At UEM Edgenta Berhad, the bedrock of integrity and innovation extends deeply into its policies, processes, and practices. Ethical behavior is not just encouraged but emphasized in the organization’s code of conduct. Simultaneously, innovation is championed through initiatives such as the Annual Innovation Month and the Idea Bank.

The commitment to fostering a culture of trust and openness is particularly notable. Employees are actively encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas on enhancing the organization. The Idea Bank serves as a platform to gather and assess these contributions, ensuring that every idea is carefully evaluated for potential implementation.

This approach stands as a mutually beneficial solution. It empowers employees to freely express their ideas while allowing the organization to systematically review and consider each proposal. Consequently, it leads to improvements in the organization’s processes and operations. Moreover, it enables the organization to adapt and make necessary modifications to better serve its internal stakeholders, the employees.

UEM Edgenta Berhad’s Commitment to Excellence

Razman highlights that UEM Edgenta Berhad’s success in maintaining a leading edge over competitors is attributed to its continuous vigilance of market trends. This vigilance serves as a foundation for providing solutions that effectively address customer needs. The organization excels at identifying opportunities for growth and development, skillfully leveraging its available resources and expertise.

Moreover, UEM Edgenta Berhad heavily invests in research and development, constantly enhancing its capabilities to enrich its service portfolio and offer added value to its customers. In 2022, the company unveiled Edgenta NXT, a groundbreaking initiative. Edgenta NXT brought forth a range of digital and advanced technology solutions and services designed to empower clients. These solutions harnessed the power of digital technologies, offering optimization of infrastructure performance and real-time data-driven decision-making.

What sets the Edgenta NXT apart is its versatility. It’s not confined to specific sectors; instead, it’s engineered to adapt seamlessly across various industries, including healthcare, transportation, and telecommunications. This adaptability and focus on customer-centric solutions have significantly enhanced infrastructure performance, empowered flexible decision-making in rapidly changing landscapes, and ultimately generated substantial value for the clientele.

Approach to Dual Responsibilities

Juggling the intricate demands of personal and professional life is a formidable challenge. Razman, however, has a method that aids him in achieving this balance. His strategy hinges on the conscious allocation of time and the establishment of boundaries. Through this deliberate approach, Razman ensures he carves out dedicated moments for his family and personal well-being.

Razman firmly acknowledges the significance of self-care practices and embraces activities like exercise and travel to revitalize himself. By sustaining a harmonious lifestyle, he adeptly manages his multifaceted responsibilities while simultaneously tending to his own needs.

The practice of setting boundaries provides the clarity and focus needed to navigate each task without undue sacrifice in other domains. Razman recognizes that to be a well-rounded leader, he must allocate time for family and personal pursuits while nurturing vital self-care rituals that facilitate his overall improvement. His wisdom lies in comprehending that neglecting one facet of life can potentially cast a shadow on the rest.

Nurturing Excellence in HR and Leadership

Razman’s message to aspiring HR professionals and budding business leaders is firmly grounded in pragmatic wisdom. He imparts the following counsel: “Dedicate your focus to personal and professional development and, concurrently, nurture the growth of others. Maintain an open mind and be unafraid to challenge the status quo. Embrace creativity, thinking beyond the present, with a keen eye on the needs and aspirations of future generations. Above all, take pride in our capacity to serve, contribute, and elevate the standard of excellence within the HR field.”

Drawing from his rich tapestry of experiences, Razman accentuates that each fragment of expertise acquired empowers individuals to make substantial contributions to their communities. He underscores the importance of curiosity, openness, and adaptability. Razman inspires us to embrace the courage to recognize that every moment harbors the potential for learning and personal growth. In conclusion, he urges us to dare greatly, propelling remarkable success and catalyzing impactful change across our personal and professional odysseys.

Razman’s 25-year career showcases exceptional leadership and unwavering dedication to sustainable HR solutions. At UEMEd, he nurtures a culture infused with innovation, integrity, and transparent communication. Concurrently, he prioritizes the delicate equilibrium between work and personal life, fostering individual growth. With his wealth of experience and his commitment to shaping the leaders of tomorrow, Razman continues to leave an indelible mark on the HR industry, serving as an inspirational beacon to all who cross his path.