Group Head of HR - Philip Karnoe

A day in the life of a lion – Philip


Philip is the Group Head of HR at Lion & Lion. A tall and approachable guy, Philip is the kind of person you’d be happy to hang out with – during work or after work. Find out what Philip thinks about working at Lion & Lion.

1. How long have you worked here? What’s your role?

I started working at Lion & Lion in May 2015 as Group Head of HR but I have been working with Lion & Lion since I first came to Malaysia in September 2013. Back then, I worked in a recruitment agency where Lion & Lion was one of our main clients.


2. What kind of opportunities do you get at Lion & Lion?

Working at Lion & Lion has given me some incredible opportunities in terms of professional and personal development. I have been given the responsibility to set up this department, almost from scratch, and to improve overall company structure. The level of freedom and responsibility given at Lion&Lion is unparalleled to any other job I have held.

Setting up HR policies, training/induction programs, salary & incentive schemes for a whole region is not something most people would get the chance to do.


3. What kind of challenges do you face every day, and how do you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges would be the cultural differences we experience every day. We have employees from 17 different countries and coming to Malaysia can be a big challenge. When I came to Malaysia two years ago, I knew very little about the country and how things operated in this country. With very few local friends, it was learning by doing and just keep trying. This applies to basic things like finding an apartment, setting up Internet at home, to opening a bank account and applying for visas. The best advice I can give is to keep pushing and ask for help.


4. Name an unexpected skill that came in handy while you’ve been working in Lion & Lion.

Staying positive. I am not sure if this is an unexpected skill but most definite a skill that I value highly. We work in a fast-paced industry and our growth is unparalleled. Naturally, there will be challenges and tough times but it is up to each person to choose whether they are up for the challenge or focus on the negative aspects. If you come to work with a smile on your face and an attitude that nothing is impossible, the day will go by much faster, you will achieve a lot more and most importantly, the mood will affect others so that they too might get an extra boost of energy.


5. How do you stay passionate and inspired in this business?

I am in a very fortunate position since I play a big part of hiring new employees to Lion. I believe if you surround yourself with passionate people who love what they do and also have a great attitude, this (passion) will multiply by the number of employees we have. With more than 150 employees who love what they do, I get easily motivated every day I come to work. To see how people care about their brands, clients, Lion and each other, inspires me to be just as good as them.


6. What do you enjoy the most about working at Lion & Lion?

The amount of freedom, trust and responsibility I get in my everyday job. Working with truly smart and passionate people. Finally, working with just as crazy and fun people as I see myself as.


7. What does success mean to you?

A combination of achieving both personal and professional goals. Naturally, achieving the goals that I have set for my own career is important, but helping others achieve theirs and see Lion&Lion grow is very important for me.

When I was offered a job in Malaysia, a country and company I knew nothing about I initially decided to turn it down but after a few days of thinking I asked myself this question,

“In 5 years, will I regret not have taken this opportunity or should I try and see what happens”? I am happy that I choose the latter.

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