The On Call with Insignia Ventures podcast introduces: A Leader A Minute! A Leader A Minute is a new mini-series featuring startup leaders at companies we’ve covered or featured on our show. We go beyond the perspectives of the founders or CEOs and get to know the other key executives who are driving the growth of these companies and creating an impact for the customers and communities they serve. They share first-day experiences, the growth they’ve experienced on the job, leadership styles, and what excites them about the future.
For each episode we do a Q&A interview for our blog and also produce a one-minute highlight for our TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We also highlight open roles in the functions led by these executives in case you would like to join their team and work with them as well!
In this fourth episode of A Leader A Minute, we talk to Nabil Ishak, Head of HR at Indonesia’s pioneering and leading social commerce platform Aplikasi Super, who talks about bringing learnings from growing Bukalapak’s organization from its early days to unicorn-hood, his views on HR for a fast-growing company that prides itself on its hyperlocal advantage, and what excites him about Super this 2022.
@vcinsider “HR is not the icing on the cake, but the baking powder. It can spell the difference between scaling or not.” @aplikasisuper head of #HR Nabil Ishak #podcast #leader #people #talent #hiring #fyp ♬ original sound – The VC Insider
About the Featured Leader #5
Nabil Ishak is Head of Human Resources at Aplikasi Super. Prior to joining Super, he was a Talent Business Partner (HRBP) at Bukalapak. He received his Masters of Science in Human Resource Management and Organizational Analysis from King’s College London.
Join Nabil in building Super:
- Senior Talent Acquisition Business Partner
- Rewards & Performance Manager
- View more info and roles here.
On Call with Insignia: What were you doing before Super? And how did you find out about the company? Why did you decide to join Super?
Nabil: I’m currently serving as a Head of HR here in Aplikasi Super. Previously I was the HRBP of Bukalapak. So my responsibilities included but were not limited to the alignment of the business objectives with those of HR, as well as the employees.
And talking about Super, I was initially approached by Steven who is the CEO of Aplikasi Super, and was immediately hooked on its purpose-driven vision and its business model which is very unique. And the rest of it is history.
On Call with Insignia: In your six months here so far, what’s the biggest impact you’ve been able to make in your role?
Nabil: In the past six months I was working on the implementation of the new systems and the new metrics for ensuring that we have appropriate measurements for our HR targets and of course, critically hiring the best talents to support our growth goals in Aplikasi Super.
So everything we do here in Super is from a bird’s eye view perspective. At Super, I consider myself as well as my team as builders. We build and transform the HR operations as well as the strategic HR program from the ground up and as a strategic thought partner for our leaders. Those are the essential actions that we always do and that we always take on a daily basis.
And we do believe in Super that HR provides a high impact for the business. We are in this highly visible role that is critical to bring the company on a growth trajectory and enabling the teams to accomplish more amazing things in their lives.
On Call with Insignia: How does your experience in Bukalapak shape the way you approach your role in Super?
Nabil: Previously in Bukalapak, I had the privilege of working and building the company essentially from its early-ish stage. I’ve to enable myself to leverage this kind of experience of mine, as well as the unicorn mindset to help [build] Super’s organizational bench strength and of course readiness towards a sustainable and profitable organization. So that’s the key role that I would like to take in as a Head of HR here in Aplikasi Super.
On Call with Insignia: How would you describe Super’s company culture in one word?
Nabil: Rewarding. At Super, we call ourselves dreamers and doers. We dream very big. Our dream is, of course, to improve economic equality for Indonesia, and we work relentlessly towards those.
And yes, there might be some formidable challenges ahead but of course we do need these challenges to grow, don’t we? To be able to turn these kinds of challenges into solutions and opportunities for a lot of people is definitely a rewarding experience for each and every one of us here in Super.
Our work has a visible impact, and we find that as a meaningful experience for our lives personally and professionally. And we always take a moment to celebrate how much we have achieved, how far we have come, and how many people we essentially have helped.
On Call with Insignia: What kind of leaders does Super cultivate in its organization? How is it unique to the kind of work Super does in rural Indonesia?
Nabil: The leaders that we are investing in and the leaders that we are looking for are the ones who are essentially authentic and genuinely willing to support our vision and culture.
It’s very purpose-driven, and that’s why we do need people or leaders who also share our purpose-driven vision. It is essential that our leaders share this heartfelt sense of ownership for our collective mission and culture and to bring it to the next level.
On Call with Insignia: How has your role in Super evolved your understanding of and appreciation for HR / your expertise / your function?
Nabil: In a sense, I do believe HR is not the icing on the cake, but it’s very much the baking powder I would say. HR can make a huge difference for a company to either scale up or bust. So HR is an entity that defines your business right from the very beginning, your culture, your competitive advantage through people, your growth, as well as your exit strategy.
It’s unfortunate that in the past, HR has had an unfortunate reputation as a “fun police”, which is far from the truth, well, at least not at Super. We work very hard here, but we have fun doing it as well.
On Call with Insignia: Super prides itself on being hyperlocal — how does this translate into Super’s approach to building its team?
Nabil: As a local startup, we fully embrace our culture of inclusion. In Indonesia, we believe diversity is required to be a forward-thinking company. However, we also believe in nurturing our local talents and growing their confidence, and their professional network, and equipping them with tools to truly succeed in a global workplace. So, I always say to my team that being in Jakarta or having international experience is not necessarily a prerequisite of success. What’s more important is having an open mind and willingness to succeed.
On Call with Insignia: What are you most excited about for Super’s future and your own role and function in the company?
Nabil: We aspire to be the next unicorn coming from eastern Indonesia, the first one from eastern Indonesia, and to earn this recognition and make a place for ourselves in the market. But our dream is so much bigger than that. What we aim for is sustainable and profitable growth.
We are going for the long haul. We run like we’re sprinting but we pace ourselves for a marathon. What we aim for is the growth that naturally comes with bringing in more and more people to [build up] our organization bench strength. As a Head of HR, I want Super to attract the best local talents and build a winning team that will take us to the new heights and establish us as an employer of choice.