Puah Poh Keng

When it comes to work, Puah Poh Keng is not one to shy away from unfamiliar responsibilities. She’s always willing to put in her best effort to try new tasks given to her. It’s no surprise then to see how this has contributed to her versatility, where she’s able to adapt to different industries and work environments in retail, manufacturing and wholesale trade. In her 16 years of work, Poh Keng has amassed experience across various administration and human resource roles, including payroll and claims, sourcing and purchasing of materials, office building and facilities maintenance, and managing vendors and service providers. With her roles, Poh Keng proved she is willing to go the extra mile to ensure she performs to the best of her ability, quickly earning the trust, recognition and appreciation of her bosses.

What are the skills you believe you possess that can add value to your work? 

I’m very detail-oriented, meticulous and a multitasker. I have this habit where I need to familiarise myself with my job, especially in the beginning, because in my first job after leaving school, I was trained to be very detailed and somewhat of a perfectionist as I was doing accounts. It’s only when I know and understand my duties at my fingertips that I start to come up with different methods to better streamline the process. It is through my efforts that one of my bosses recognised what I can do, promoting me from HR Assistant, to Senior HR Assistant, and eventually to HR Officer where I handled the HR management of a division at a manufacturing company. In another role in the retail industry, I was promoted from HR Assistant to HR Officer to manage three retail outlets. 

While my disadvantage is that I don’t have good paper qualifications, my strength is that I’m willing to take on new challenges and I’m ready to put in the best I can. Previously when I was working at a driving centre as an assistant to the HR manager, I would request to help the counter staff handle customer relations when I was less busy. Especially during the busy periods of the day, I assisted with tending to customer queries and booking of driving courses, learning to perform these duties on the job. I do enjoy being in such work environments where I can constantly learn. 

Most importantly, I come with a positive mind set and a can-do attitude. When I see things positively, I believe everything will fall in place and things will turn out well. In my work, there were times that I was tasked with additional portfolio and I would take it on as a challenge and a new skill to learn. It’s only at the beginning that things seem difficult. Once you get the hang of it, it will become like a daily routine. 

What is one of your greatest achievement? 

Throughout my years of working, I’ve managed to streamline office processes, bringing along my general organisational skills. I’m particularly known for going above and beyond for my employers. At one of my roles in a retail company, I was asked to help with receptionist duties when she goes for lunch, breaks or on leave. I had to learn to perform switchboard responsibilities as well as front desk duties such as attending to visitors at the same time. It required me to learn how to multitask at a very intense pace. So I came up with my own processes to help perform my duties more efficiently, including retyping out the telephone list of employees in alphabetical form to find their direct lines quickly. When the time came for me to relinquish this duty to a more junior staff, I passed on my knowledge and experience to her, guiding her along because I knew how tough it was. 

At this company, my role included office administration and maintenance of office equipment, and a full spectrum of HR duties including hiring and orientation of new hires, corporate procurement matters, checking of employee claims and negotiation of vendor contracts. Even though it’s not really in my job to do this, there was once during bad economic times that my boss asked me to help check if it’s possible to cut down on costs. I went through the company’s accounts and claims, working with the accounts manager to verify any discrepancies, and I was able to help the company save $20,000 that year. 

What are you looking for in your next role? 

I hope to land a role that I can be passionate about, because that would allow me to be more productive and creative. I love interacting with people from all walks of life and I want to make a positive impact on others. Also, I’m someone who is able to get along easily with people of any age group and any level. I’m a self-motivated person who is willing to go above the call of duty on any projects and learn valuable skills on my own. So I will treasure any opportunity that comes and I’m not restricting myself to any specific role. What I do hope is to be given the opportunity to value-add to my next employer.

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