Interview with Ms. Sanlies Lo, Assistant General Manager and Head of Human Resources of Chun Wo Construction Holdings, the core business of Asia Allied Infrastructure
“Stay hungry, stay alert” is the personal motto of Sanlies Lo, Assistant General Manager and Head of Human Resources of Chun Wo Construction Holdings ("Chun Wo", the core business of the Asia Allied Infrastructure). After more than 10 years at Chun Wo, what makes her stay passionate about her job? As one of the major local contractors, how does Chun Wo attract and retain talents? And under the COVID-19 pandemic, what challenges are the Company facing? Let’s talk with Sanlies to find out the truth!
“I’m an outgoing person. I love to communicate and interact with different people. Back in my school days, I was already thinking what profession allows me to utilise my strengths. So very soon, I decided to pursue my career in human resources (HR) when I was studying in secondary school.”
Today, Sanlies is already a leader of our HR Team. When asked about how she motivates her team at work, she revealed that above all, she “treats them as friends”. “Those who have worked at Chun Wo for some time would probably know that I never give myself airs. Instead of being addressed as ‘Ms. Lo’ or ‘Ah Jeh (in Cantonese)’, I prefer people simply call me ‘Sanlies’. I believe that only by treating my teammates as friends can I truly understand their needs and abilities; they can easily open up to me when they encounter problems. Playing fair with rewards and punishments is also my key to successful management.”
Sanlies encourages the younger generation to “stay hungry” – actively seek for new knowledge, seize every work opportunity, and always get well-prepared.
So, being one of the major local contractors in Hong Kong, how does Chun Wo attract and retain talents? Sanlies answered, “Our Company has worked hard to build up a young and energetic image. Ir Dr. Pang Yat Bond, Derrick, JP, Chief Executive Officer of Asia Allied Infrastructure, would be our best ‘representative’ – he is an open-minded and energetic CEO. Besides, we encourage work-life balance and we don’t want colleagues to work overtime. Since the construction market is constantly changing, other than maintaining a positive workplace, it’s important for the HR Department to keep up with market situations to ensure our staff’s salaries and benefits align with market levels.”
The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic once again reminded Sanlies to “stay alert and prepared for challenges”. “The HR Department is often the first department to serve as a buffer when emergencies and crises occur. From trivial matters such as leave application, to typhoon, or even the current unprecedented pandemic, colleagues always call us for help. During the early outbreak of COVID in 2019, we received thousands of phone calls from our colleagues. I always remind my team to understand the needs of colleagues before making decisions. Especially for frontline staff in construction, they encounter various difficulties every day – we shall not give a standard written reply without a second thought, or simply ask them to follow the established procedures and hand in medical certificates, document proofs, etc. We should put ourselves at their shoes, liaise and coordinate with their department heads, and find out the best solution together.”
Talking about her most memorable moments at Chun Wo, Sanlies immediately came up with the days in 2013, when Chun Wo beat other major local corporates and won the “Excellence in Training and Development (Development Category) – Gold Award” by the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA). “We entered the competition with Chun Wo’s Elite Program (Management Trainee Program). It was a 9-month long selection process. When the result was announced, I couldn’t help crying, as all the hardships were worth it. The award is still sitting in my office, always reminding me not to slack off and be ready for any upcoming challenges.”
Sanlies (left) believes that leaders can better understand their teammates' needs and abilities by treating them as friends.
Sanlies (middle) and her HR Team