Education, determination and passion are the main driving forces behind the success of Linda Sincha Paru, an Human Resources specialist, who is now expanding the business she established almost five years ago, HR Business Solutions. As she told Business Advantage PNG, that energy is also used to support other up-and-coming businesswomen.
After 22 years climbing the corporate ladder, Linda Sincha Paru found ‘the urge to run a business and make it work well was so strong I went for it’.
That was in 2010.
‘I owned it by myself until about 18 months ago when I had to bring in business partners, mainly for expansion and to get a greater share of the market place in infrastructure and asset building,’ she tells Business Advantage PNG.
‘When I first started I had about six employees. Our first contract was with Telikom PNG. We were so fortunate-Telikom PNG gave us a little room.’
Within a few months, the company had grown; employing 11 staff and moved to Pacific View Apartments at 2 Mile.
‘From there we really grew and by 2012 we had many challenges, and I realised that as a woman owning a business, I needed to have more ammunition, more exposure, and so what I thought about was combining technology and communications and that is how my current business partners came onto the scene.’
So she sought out business partners with expertise in communications and technology engineering. The company now has a staff of 22.
‘It was tough. If I had then all the information I now have, I might still be an employee today.’
The eldest of five siblings, Paru was born in Cape Rodney in Central Province. Her mother is a mix parentage of Kikori in the Gulf of Papua and West Papua. Her father is from Kairuku in Central.
‘… I realised that as a woman owning a business, I needed to have more ammunition, more exposure, and so what I thought about was combining technology and communications and that is how my current business partners came onto the scene.’
Paru’s first job in HR was with the PNG Banking Corporation.She majored in Psychology at the University of PNG, before going to Sydney University, where she graduated in 2004 with a Masters in International Business and Human Resources.
‘One of the reasons I did international business was I was very enthusiastic about being a HR Manager that operated across boundaries within the Asia Pacific region
‘When I was studying international business I realised Asia was the next big developing world.’
When the global food company Cargill was coming into PNG, she called up the head of the recruitment agency doing recruitment for Cargill and said that even if it meant a pay cut, she would be go to provincial PNG, to get the experience.
‘So I went firstly to Milne Bay. I became the HR Manager, then the Group HR Manager, with the head office based in Singapore, working and travelling throughout the three plantations within PNG and Asia.
‘‘I truly believe being resilient, determined, innovative and passionate are the keys to success, but been these alone are not enough.’
‘I enjoyed it so much. I travelled to China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, PNG and it was amazing and put me about five years ahead of PNG in the HR field.’
In early 2009, the ANZ Bank recruited her as Head of its HR Division, north-west Pacific region, responsible for PNG, Solomon Islands & Timor. And 18 months later, her own company, HR Business Solutions came into being.
‘‘I truly believe being resilient, determined, innovative and passionate are the keys to success, but been these alone are not enough,’ she says.
‘You also must network and most importantly listen to your clients and provide what is required and needed at the right price, be professional and always present facts and build relationships and encourage ideas from your team.
‘I always acknowledge the team around me for my success. Without a great team I am not sure I would have achieved my goals and aspirations. I still feel I have a lot to learn yet to be truly considered a successful business person in PNG.’
So is it any different for women than men in order to be successful in PNG?
‘It’s all about having the right advice, access to finance for startup and been innovative and determined to succeed will produce a business person whether it’s women or men doesn’t matter.’
‘You also must network and most importantly listen to your clients and provide what is required and needed at the right price, be professional and always present facts and build relationships and encourage ideas from your team.’
Her current batch of clients includes the Internal Revenue Commission, National Airport Corporation, Newcrest Mining Limited and NAQIA.
She’s also proud of her two boys who she raised by herself, aged 21 and 14.
‘They travelled with me extensively throughout Asia.’
HR Consulting Services
Paru and partners’ company carries out standard HR activities of recruitment, outplacement, payroll and logistics administration, training and arranging visas and work permits.
‘In terms of adding value, we do a lot of assessments when we hire people. I think one of the unique things that we do is behavioural interviewing and computer testing of candidates so that we are able to tell our clients more about candidate’s behaviours and computer literacy skills prior to employment.’
Based on her experiences working for Cargill, in PNG & Singapore, the company has set up a help 24-hour desk facility.
‘Cargill looked after about 33,000 people at their helpdesk in Singapore. So when I returned to PNG, I really wanted to have a helpdesk here.’
HR is not just a growth industry, but its reach is broadening, she says.
‘Recruitment is only one of the many products that we have. One of our biggest services is HR & Payroll Audits.
‘We are one of the few companies, like Price Waterhouse and Deloitte, which do Human Resource Practices & Payroll Audits.
‘Some of the things we audit are employee communications. We ask for example, is the employer regularly communicating with the people; how do they do their record-keeping; accuracy of time keeping for payroll; the benefits and health insurance they have for their people; leave compliance; do they have job descriptions and are they set down correctly in line with labour laws; how are they hiring; turnover, disciplinary procedures, internships. What is their performance management process?’
‘There are a lot of people looking at me as a role model and while it’s very challenging, I do my best to act as a mentor as well.’
Paru is hopeful of carrying out a NEC decision to audit up to 28 government departments and 19 provincial governments and 19 hospitals.
‘That was deferred from last year because of budget constraints and other challenges. That is a massive project.’
‘There are a lot of people looking at me as a role model and while it’s very challenging, I do my best to act as a mentor as well.
‘It’s a very individual thing.
‘When I was still working for ANZ as Head of HR I used to spend time with professional businesswomen and there were girls still in school who needed mentoring so I offered my services.’
Paru is currently working with a gender expert on a joint ABD-DFAT project proposal which aims to provide mentoring for about 40 women, working closely with Business Coalition for Women.
Paru is involved with the PNG APEC Secretariat as the Executive Director for PNG Focus on APEC Women’s Economic Empowerment representing private sector women entrepreneurs.
‘I look after the private economic sector for women in APEC in PNG and HR Business Solutions Limited is one of the two women businesses recognised in PNG as pushing gender equality and I’m really proud of that.’
Image source: For Harriet