Balancing the Grind with Julian Yong, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Planit

Julian Yong is the Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Planit, a leader in quality assurance and engineering, providing best-in-class consultancy, training, and services.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

After starting my career in Perth and cutting my teeth in recruitment agency land, I moved over east nearly 6 years ago (first to Melbourne, then Sydney) to expand my horizons and into the wonderful world of Talent Acquisition. I’ve been lucky enough to have built a successful career in various industries, scaling teams in organisations such as AKQA, GroupM and now Planit.

After 5 years at my previous company, I decided it was time to pursue my true love – the tech industry. The stars aligned when Planit was embarking on their mission to scale and grow globally (we’ve opened 2 new offices in London and Manilla during the 3 months that I’ve been here).

As the Global Head of Talent, I’m responsible for the overall growth of Planit’s various teams while building, structuring and developing our talent team’s capability to attract the best talent worldwide. 

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

As I’m still in the earlier stages into my role, my days have an element of unpredictability despite me doing my best to structure and plan ahead!

Usually once I’m up and running, I start my day with an update from my LinkedIn newsfeed for industry news. I’m a big advocate for learning via looking outwards on what other emerging businesses are doing, with the view to synthesise and apply back to my function.

My conviction to continuously learn and develop my skills completely outweighs my introverted and inward nature, as I set myself a fortnightly goal of reaching out to at least 1 new person within the peripherals of my work/industry to learn from.  

When the working day begins, it usually commences with a ‘morning stand-up’ with my team where we talk about urgent agendas and help remove each other’s blockers, solving problems as a team.

The days are filled with various regional meetings on resourcing plans & strategies, coaching my team on hiring activities, managing key business relationships, process improvements, and storytelling to potential new recruits on our journey. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Absolutely yes. You could say we are a globally remote workforce in my current workplace. We have recently downsized our offices to modern collaborative workspaces, and have no mandates for our corporate employees to be in the office on any set days.

We have various of our leaders and team members situated in all parts of the country, as we are all able to work together seamlessly.

I’m a firm believer for everyone to lead themselves, manage their own tasks and work at the place of their choosing. It is about being performance and output driven, not what hours or where you work.

As for myself, I enjoy going into the office 2-3 days a week to collaborate and interact with our teammates, and have other set days working from home. This allows me to plan a solid routine of how I structure my week, segregating various tasks I perform in the office vs WFH. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Candidly, as my role is new and only into my 4th month with the business, and coupled with the growth, changes and demand in our team, achieving a healthy work life balance is still a work-in-progress for me. It is definitely something I am striving to achieve so I can perform sustainably and avoid burnout.

As a start, I have implemented a routine finish time at 5:00pm each day. I use this time to focus on regaining my energy via family time, walking the dog or doing a workout. This is crucial for me to clear my mind.

I may then jump back on for a couple of hours. As a ‘night owl’, I often get my most creative juices flowing after dinner time. This also aligns well for me to have calls with our UK teams.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

As someone who has a perennial sweet tooth, drastically reducing my sugar intake at nights several months ago has given me a significantly fresher start to each morning. I didn’t realise before how much sugar had affected how I woke up every morning, and also productivity for the first 2 hours!

I have also committed to exercising once a day, every day, no matter how busy my days get. Though I’ll admit the days can certainly get away from you, the way I look at it is you have around 15-16 hours from the moment you wake up till you go to sleep. Having to find 30-45mins to exercise within that period has got to be achievable – if there’s a will, there’s a way. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

  • Books: admittedly I’m not much of a reader however I did recently read 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson and would highly recommend it!
  • Podcast: I’m a subscriber of Lex Fridman Podcast and I never miss an episode
  • Newsletters: Recruiting Brainfood 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Microsoft Teams for work. I also use LinkedIn as my primary newsfeed as I’m not on any other social media. And I most definitely cannot live without my Airpods!

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

Barack Obama.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Lead by example, be biassed towards action, be authentic, and be kind to yourself and the people around you.

Take the time to understand yourself and how you operate, so you can maximise your output consistently and sustainably. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Health is wealth. Look after yourself – you can’t give your best if you aren’t your best self mentally AND physically. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.