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Universal Robina Corporation

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  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Erika Marie C. Hautea

Dedicate time to enrich skills that can only be discovered outside of the classroom – opportunities that also open up friendships with a diverse set of people.

What's your job about?

I became a Human Resources Management Trainee (MT) in Universal Robina Corporation (URC) last August 2021. The program aims to equip MTs with a holistic view of Human Resources, giving its trainees the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills across different functions. So far, I have had an amazing set of experiences working with the following teams:

  • Talent Acquisition: I started out my MT journey with my role focused on recruitment and employer branding. As a recruiter, I gained skills related to interviewing, negotiating and stakeholder management as I handled the hiring of our Finance, Treasury, Audit, and Information Technology Departments. I was also able to unlock my creative and extroverted side as I hosted new hire onboarding, led University partnerships, and revamped our employer branding materials.
  • Organization Development: In this rotation, I served as the lead system administrator of Performance modules in our new Talent Management system powered by Darwinbox. I held several key roles such as performing system navigation training and providing troubleshooting assistance across the entire URC.
  • Corporate Employee Programs: Currently my work focuses on two sub-functions. First is Internal Communications where I write articles on the latest news in URC. Most recently, I have been writing features of URC’s women leaders in celebration of Women’s Month. Second is Employee Engagement where I assist in activities that engage our employees through the virtual space such as game nights and social media activities through our private Facebook group.

What's your background?

I grew up in Metro Manila and was mostly focused on getting good grades as my way of honouring the hard work of my parents. Fast forward to college, I had the privilege of being a full-merit scholar and enrol into a 5-year program where I would gain both a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities and a Master of Science in Management. Unfortunately, my batchmates and I were the first to graduate virtually. However, looking back, my college years remain to be the best years of my student life since growing out of my grade-conscious self allowed me to gain mentors and form friendships that would last a lifetime.

I attribute this amazing experience to deciding to have more fun by joining several student organizations. It was actually my involvement that sparked my interest in pursuing HR as a career. Working with people made me realize that their uniqueness as individuals requires an understanding of their personal ways of working and awareness that they have their private struggles beyond the corners of the University. This was a great jump-off point for me to put more effort into understanding our complexities as people and how it translates to how we can have effective employees in the professional world.

Furthermore, prior to joining URC, I have had my share of unique job applications. These varying experiences as a job applicant – both good and bad – further inspired me to strive to be an empathetic human resource practitioner, making people feel valued throughout their career journey.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes. From my experience in recruitment, I have learned that we should not limit opportunities based on a person’s educational attainment. While most of my colleagues have a degree in Psychology, URC welcomes those with different backgrounds like a Management graduate such as myself. For someone to excel in the HR MT Program, they should have good communication and presentation skills, the ability to manage stakeholders, and critical thinking in order to analyse HR processes. Creativity is also a big advantage as HR always aims to come up with appealing and engaging ways to attract and retain talent.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is that I get to make an impact in the organization amidst being a newbie to the role and to the corporate world. To name a few interesting parts of my rotations, I have had the opportunity to work with different URC leaders across the Philippines and International, lead a project in partnership with my alma mater to promote URC as an employer of choice, and lead the implementation our new talent management system – all while working from home!

What are the limitations of your job?

Every HR function is unique which entails a different mindset for the journey. However, I find one main challenge present in all is the responsibility to serve our employees who are our main stakeholders. I can be flooded with queries from people I may not even know! I recall in Organization Development, urgent questions can push people to contact you via mobile, Microsoft Teams, email, and even through fellow HR colleagues. The communication channels are endless! Hence, the need to provide good customer service makes me strive for good time management, grace under pressure, and quick thinking.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Dedicate time to enrich skills that can only be discovered outside of the classroom – opportunities that also open up friendships with a diverse set of people.
  2. Success comes with patience, perseverance, and for you, a lot of tears, and that’s okay!
  3. Everybody’s path and timeline are different. Focus on yours and take the time to celebrate others who are on their respective journey.