Live in the Moment – Maggie Wei, Tencent Corporate Vice President
Maggie WEI, Corporate Vice President at Tencent, joined the company in 2008. She oversees compensation and benefits, performance management, employee relations and the HR function of overseas businesses.
Many people think Human Resources is the department that handles a lot of paperwork, but that doesn’t even cover half of what Maggie WEI does.
Maggie oversees the compensation, benefits, and performance management functions inside HR as Corporate Vice President, all while receiving feedback from employees on matters big and small on a daily basis.
There are more than 60,000 staff at Tencent spanning a variety of businesses such as social platforms, games, fintech, cloud, smart industries, digital content, and AI. Each of these verticals encompasses a wide range of roles including technology, planning, operations, marketing and more. The HR management system at Tencent may be among the most sophisticated in the industry.
Maggie has grown together with Tencent over the past 12 years, overcoming various changes and challenges. Those experiences have helped her root herself in the present, believing it’s important to build a strong foundation before one looks ahead to the future.
Q：What were the considerations behind your decision to join Tencent?
A：I worked at IBM’s China office before joining Tencent. Back then I focused on implementing the strategies and policies from headquarters at the local office level. When IBM’s PC division was acquired by Lenovo, I moved there as well. From these experiences I learned that working at the headquarters is totally different from working at a regional office. Tencent is headquartered in Shenzhen, and the team I met during my job interview was pragmatic, energetic and audacious. All these qualities appealed to me.
Q：What are the key differences between working in HR at Tencent and elsewhere?
A：The classic "pay for position, person, and performance" model usually sees remuneration determined by position with adjustments based on ones’ capabilities, experiences and performance.
Yet in the Internet industry, the market changes quickly and one often needs to grasp an opportunity even if the outcome is still uncertain, and then experiment and make adjustments along the way. The output of the employee could be intangible knowledge or innovation, and different people in the same role could yield totally different results. Therefore, our HR system must cope with market changes flexibly and swiftly by putting a higher weighting on "person" and "performance" to incentivize employees. The principle of "putting talents on top, being people-centric" is entrenched at Tencent and throughout the entire talent supply chain managed by HR.
Q：How does HR support employees throughout their career at Tencent? In terms of benefits, what is the niche of Tencent?
A：At Tencent, we offer both professional and management development channels to our employees, together with a well-established training system and new opportunities that constantly emerge in various new segments. Our people receive constant training to help them grow.
When we design our employees’ benefits, we share the same mindset used when designing our products. We aim to offer the most comprehensive, human-centric benefits scheme that considers the different professions and life stages of our employees, including health, financial, and wellness needs. Many of these benefits are unique to Tencent. They reflect our corporate culture, character, and care for our employees. A competitive salary package attracts talent to the company, while the caring and well-tailored benefits scheme retains employees and nurtures loyalty.
Q：What do you think are the forces driving the evolution of HR at Tencent and into the future?
A：Tencent products are regarded as top-tier in the industry. We have the same product-driven mindset at the HR function as well. Executives and staff at all levels are our customers, so we must use our professional experience and understanding of the businesses to provide tailor-made remuneration and benefits that meet the unique needs of employees at different levels and different stages of their careers. Therefore, HR is not merely a corporate function that runs on its own but is the most accountable partner of different business groups and fights together with them on the front line. Only by doing so can we understand their needs and challenges and offer suitable support to them.
Q：Tencent has accelerated its pace of global growth, with your role expanding to cover the HR function of our overseas businesses. How do you integrate different cultures in the company?
A：Tencent has offices in the United States, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and Europe, each of which has its own local culture. As such, we use a 1+N strategy, with "1" standing for "One Tencent" and the "N" standing for the successful integration of different cultures. We decentralize and empower the management teams at our regional offices to customize their management systems.
Q: What is your advice to people considering a career in HR?
A：I think there are three key criteria to be a successful HR specialist.
First, you should have a mindset focused on helping others succeed. Business teams are always on the frontline, at center stage. HR always provides support backstage.
Second, you need to have a sense of when you need to break away from established practices and how to deal with evolving situations. You need to be a fast learner and process new information quickly. The business environment in the internet industry is ever-changing, so relying on past experience alone is not enough. We need to be pragmatic, but at the same time be bold and innovative to help business teams solve their problems and strengthen their competitiveness.
Third, there are three qualities that I emphasize often to my team: attitude, empathy and speed. In terms of attitude, we tackle challenges head-on, offer our support and collaborate with others to find the best solution. In terms of empathy, HR managers have to be empathetic and put themselves in others' shoes when working out a solution. Speed means responding quickly to users’ needs and offering solutions. We must stay hungry, learn more and be fast to constantly upgrade ourselves.
Q：It has been pleasant to have a conversation with you. How have you been able to keep a relaxed attitude and open mind?
A：My parents were both military doctors who were very hard working and self-motivated. I grew up in a harmonious family and was supported by my parents, who gave me the freedom to pursue my own interests. This helped give me the courage and security needed to face challenges fearlessly and independently. I think life is like a mirror. If you smile at it, it will smile back.
Q：How do you tackle the challenges you encounter at work?
A：There are always ups and downs in both life and work. Just face it head on, deal with it, and let go of the results. My motto is: "The vision to see, the faith to believe, the courage to do!"
My principles are, firstly, a focus on actions in the present. It is important to plan, but it’s even more important to execute well now. Secondly, be open-minded to accept whatever outcome. I always give 120% of my efforts, but the outcome is impacted by many factors that are out of my control. We must learn to accept and learn from failure, evolving ourselves to become an even stronger person.
Q: How do you balance different roles in work and life? What do you want to do next?
A：As mentioned, I tend to focus more in the present. I enjoy every role and do my best no matter the situation. I do have a general plan for my future, but I do not spend too much time thinking about it. I think if you keep worrying about what will happen in three or five years, you will not have enough energy left to focus on the present. Dream big, but also hustle hard every day.