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VOL 2020 VOLXI XI//ISSUE ISSUE 12 12 / December DECEMBER 2020

2023 2022 POST

BIG INTERVIEW SANDRA L. RIVERA

Executive VP, Chief People Officer, Intel Corporation

covid-19 world of work Are You Set for

2021 nd? a nd beyo

SPECIAL INTERVIEWS DAGMAR WALTER

Director, ILO DWT/CO New Delhi ANNETTE DIXON

Vice President, World Bank Group Human Resources

Still far from seeing the end of the pandemic — that reigned 2020 and ruined lives and businesses, it’s time to look back to look ahead & rethink a sustainable and resilient world of work.


People Matters Sandbox

Where new HR thinking starts

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FFrroom m tth h e E d i t o r ’’ss DDeesskk 4

That was it! So what’s the plan for 2021?

T

he catastrophic year 2020, which has affected us personally and professionally in ways we could not have imagined just a year ago, is coming to an end but the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t petering out yet. We are entering a new era in the way we work and are not going back. However, it’s striking to see how governments, businesses, and societies are grappling with the new reality with resilience. Some of the abrupt changes in the way we work may stick around forever. Remote work and flexibility, for instance, have been around for a long time but did not gain traction. As a

| december 2020

second wave of the pandemic rises with several countries going into new lockdowns again, we are seeing this trend strengthening. The biggest shift in work triggered by the crisis has been the dramatic uptick in the use of digital technologies; the years-long digital transformation roadmaps have compressed into days and weeks. We have seen a massive shift in work culture. While the acceleration of remote work and flexibility in workforce management is a given, the pandemic has brought into focus the humanization of employees. Employees' health and well-being is more important than ever and so is the blending of work and life. To stave off the impact of the crisis, organizations are getting real. Clearly, the question of where we work in the future is a big one. Home has become the workplace for most people globally over the past few months. As the year comes to an end, leaders are forced to look back to look ahead to streamline things for the unknown future. While the pandemic has constrained businesses to rethink how they work and how they engage and support their people, it has enabled them to outpace some of the entrenched norms in terms of the way we work. As we move into a recovery phase, it will enable them to continue this that aligns with the expectations of their workforce. 2021 will likely see business leaders start to shift from a

crisis response mode to that of recovery, to thrive in a new normal. The crisis presents an opportunity to redress the gaps the crisis brought to the fore such as gender diversity and skill-building. Many businesses are now weighing up a return to the workplace, a wholesale shift to remote working, or a hybrid model of working that allows employees to work from anywhere depending on the nature of the function. Companies have never been agile like they are today. The importance of continuous learning was high even before the pandemic, but the COVID-19-prompted pause has only accentuated the criticality of equipping workforce with new skills. Innovation is now in great demand and everyone wants to reimagine what a better world could look like with new experiments. While innovation and experimentation have been remarkably high in various organizations across industries, the pandemic has made it imperative for businesses. The pandemic made leaders focus on what really matters. As we move on alongside the virus, leaders need to continue to steer the wheel to shifting priorities. This will require leaders to keep up the spirit of agile innovation. HR leaders tended to think about the workforce based on geographies in the past. The scope becomes much broader today with less reliance on offices. It’s time to think about the skills and capabilities organizations need, which


For the Big Interview, we have Sandra L. Rivera, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Intel Corporation, who shares insights on how the company is dealing with the current pandemic and how it is preparing itself for the post-COVID-19 times. We also have a special interview with Annette Dixon, Vice President, World Bank Group Human Resources, who shares how COVID-19 will change the world forever and what it would take to help countries bounce back. We also have the International Labour Organization's Dagmar Walter, who talks about the impact of COVID-19 on jobs and how employers, associations, and economies can work together to improve the future of the jobs market. The issue features ''People Matters Survey: Are We Too Remote for Our Employees?'' We have launched a dedicated program for WFH leaders and we successfully completed our Q4 batch. We also have another survey-based story on the State of HR technology - Investments & Expectations. Read the reports to find more. As always, we would be happy to hear your views, comments, and suggestions regarding our stories.

THE COVER STORY (BEHIND THE SCENE)

This is as boring as the year 2020!

Umm...

From the Editor’s Desk

could be applied globally. Overall, human resources have proven they can manage, strategize, and inspire at the same time, helping shape up the future of work. COVID-19 highlighted how the pandemic could imperil some of the developments made on gender equality in the workplace in recent years. The pandemic also taught us that having diversity and inclusion policies in place isn’t enough, it is the “everyday culture” experienced by employees that will determine if it’s a real priority. There is mounting pressure to set clear outcome-driven goals to be able to review employees objectively. Organizations have been trying out skills-based pay for a few years now. We see this trend increasing as work becomes better codified. So, what are your top priorities moving forward in 2021? The shock to human lives and the resultant economic downturn has already given forth enough anxiety for employers and employees. And the toughest part is we don’t know yet as to what the coming year has in stock. Being able to see the beacons in the haze will be the art to hammer out the plan for an unknown future. Read the cover story of this issue for key lessons leaders will factor in as they plan for the year 2021. The story deeps dive into opportunities that lie ahead and how organizations are gearing up to build a sustainable world of work.

Feeling blue, thank god for no flu...

PHEW!

Happy Reading! Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor-in-Chief follow

M > @Ester_Matters F > estermartinez > ester.martinez@peoplematters.in december 2020 |

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contents cover story

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2023 2022 POST

de c e m b e r 2 0 2 0 volu m e xi issue 1 2

expert views

66 Dr. Frederik G. Pferdt, Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist 71 Emma Codd, Global Inclusion Leader, Deloitte 76 Jacob Morgan, Author, Speaker, & Futurist 80 Ruzbeh Irani, President, Group Human Resources & Communications; Member of the Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd 83 Jacky Simmonds, Chief People Officer of Experian 86 Nalin Kumar Miglani, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resource Officer, EXL

COVID-19 world of work

90 Vidisha Mehta, Managing Director at Willis Towers Watson’s Talent and Rewards Business in Singapore 94 Satish Shankar, Regional Managing Partner of Bain & Company Asia-Pacific

Are You Se t for

2021

97 Richard R. Smith, Ph.D., Professor at Singapore Management University and a Research Fellow at the Indian School of Business

C O N TE N TS

nd? a nd beyo

101 Michael Chetner, Head of Australia and APAC at Zoom 104 Clinton Wingrove, Director of www.WantToBeGreatManager. com and www.ClintonHR.com

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the big Interview

special Interview

COVID-19 is not just a health crisis, but also a social and economic crisis

Reimagining the way we work Sandra L. Rivera, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Intel Corporation By Mastufa Ahmed

Editor-in-Chief

Features Writer

managing Editor

Manager - research & Content

Esther Martinez Hernandez Yasmin Taj

Anushree Sharma

Associate Editor - Print & Online

Assistant ManagerS - Content

Mastufa Ahmed

Manager - design, photography, and production

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Manager - Content

Jerry Moses

Senior Associate - Content

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Senior Features Writer

Manager, Sales

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| december 2020

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Annette Dixon, Vice President, World Bank Group Human Resources By Mastufa Ahmed

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This issue of People matters contains 138 pages including cover


16 Pe r fo r m a n c e M a n a g e m e n t

People matters survey

Redefining performance metrics

108

By Anushree Sharma

18 F u t u r e of J o b s

Key takeaways from WEF Jobs Reset Summit By Maia Jenkins

24 L & D

Visa’s Chief Learning Officer on the acceleration of learning strategies

Karie Willyerd, SVP and Chief Learning Officer for Visa By Bhavna Sarin 31 w o r k - life b a l a n c e

The work-life postCOVID-19: From collision to integration By Bhavna Sarin

By Maia Jenkins

60 I NT E R V I E W

By Moin Qazi, Worked for three decades at State Bank of India in various developmental roles. He served as Chancellor's nominee on Nagpur University and Member of National Committee on Financial Inclusion at NITI Aayog

48 s p e c i a l I NT E R V I E W

We need to think of the future in fairer terms

Dagmar Walter, Director, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team for South Asia and Country Office for India By Mastufa Ahmed

Action research for HR

By Visty Banaji, Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC)

Rajkamal Vempati, Head, Human Resources, Axis Bank By Shweta Modgil

The 4A way of learning: A 126 T h e Ne w Wo r k p l a c e practical approach to organ- The changing demand for izational learning goals office space

By Neha Jangale, Twinkle Tukra, Part of the L&D team at AFS, Mahindra & Mahindra; By Ratna Joshi, Head of L&D team at AFS, Mahindra & Mahindra

By Chelsea Perino, Managing Director, Global Marketing & Communications, The Executive Centre

118 T h e Ne w Wo r k p l a c e

Tech will underpin the larger 'return to work' strategy

Kameshwari Rao, Global Chief People Officer, Publicis Sapient By Bhavna Sarin 121 s t r a t e g i c h r

54 T h e r o a d less t r a velled

The workplace of the future will exist on people’s own devices

C O N TE N TS

42 c o m p e n s a t io n

The woeful tale of bank pensioners

Emily He, Senior Vice President, Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group By Jerry Moses

123 i n t e r vie w

114 L e a r n i n g & D evelo p m e n t

Mental health is fiscal health

When HRD has a bad reputation

By Jeff Pfeffer, Professor of organizational behavior at GSB, Stanford University; By M Muneer, MD of CustomerLab Solutions and co-founder of the non-profit Medici Institute

130 HR Te c h n olo g y

The state of HR Technology - Investment & Expectations By Anushree Sharma

regulars

04 From the Editor’s Desk 08 Letters of the month 10 Quick Reads 15 Rapid-Fire 134 Knowledge + Networking 136 Blogosphere

Featured In this issue Annette Dixon Dagmar Walter Emily He Emma Codd Dr. Frederik G. Pferdt Jacely Voon Jacky Simmonds Kameshwari Rao

Karie Willyerd Michael Chetner Nalin Kumar Miglani Rajkamal Vempati Ruzbeh Irani Sandra L. Rivera Satish Shankar

CONTRIBUTORS to this issue Chelsea Perino Clinton Wingrove Jacob Morgan Jeffrey Pfeffer M Muneer Moin Qazi Neha Jangale

Ratna Joshi Richard Smith Robert Ehrmantraut Twinkle Tukra Vidisha Mehta Visty Banaji

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Letters of the month

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Digital HR: Is it clouding our thinking?

Wonderful insight and reality check, much needed at a time that experiences accelerated digital adoption and a rush to incorporate the latest technology to enable a hybrid workplace and boost productivity and engagement. The example of not investing time in measuring the impact of a hire is quite apt. However, in the present circumstances, the biggest challenge as it appears is prioritization. While HR must build skills to make decision making more effective and inclusive of cost and ROI factors with a reasonable level of business and analytical understanding, the urgency today to enable tech-driven workflows, based on the advice as rightly pointed out by tech teams or the amplified marketing campaigns from vendors urging for bringing in collaborative tech, leaves them with little to no time to upskill. While dedicating adequate time to build requisite tech and business acumen is crucial, it needs to be balanced with immediate deliverables without compromising on experience, yet being able to strike optimization in matters that involve an expense. It indeed is the perfect storm for HR professionals. - Tulika Banerjee

Empathy is not a speed breaker, but a performance accelerator

Glad to see organizations stepping up and recognizing the need for empathy as a function. While it does risk leaving the task to a select few, it at the same time brings in leadership involvement at its very core. Having a Chief Empathy Officer would serve the need to foster conversations right at the leadership level, and trigger the urgency of being empathetic in those who remain ignorant of it, while also recognizing the need to bring in suitable and customized interventions to drill the message from top-down across the organization. Empathy is a skill, and like many other skills that organizations prioritize to stay relevant, empathy is a core skill for leaders, managers, and individuals to ensure they don’t dampen the productivity of those around and are in fact cognizant of how work and surroundings are impacting their colleagues. If empathy isn’t introduced in time, organizations and employees stand at great risk of not just being disconnected but also serve as a tremendous threat to performance, sustainability, and growth. - Kana Maher

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| december 2020

november 2020 issue

Companies are going through massive transformations and there is no going back

It feels reassuring to read Josh Bersin say we are not going back to where we were, at a time when employers stick by the belief that the global economy is just in transit and will head back to ‘normalcy’. The present state is the only normal there will be in the near future, with modifications from remote work to a hybrid working model, that’s just how far back to erstwhile normal we can go, and this aspect is what employers are in denial about. - Shibam Koley


Interact with People Matters

You can’t wait for a perfect time to launch a business

- Anish Aravind

Easing the post lockdown work-life

Really helpful insights on some actionable steps everyone can take to ease the post-lockdown work-life. So true about the fact that there is little difference in what good companies and good leaders did before and post-pandemic, just that those actions are more imperative now. It essentially boils down to being human and realistic and not only talking about the need for empathy but practicing it as much for your colleagues, and the larger workforce, as you do for your close ones. It is a well-known fact that COVID and remote working setup is here to stay for an indefinite period. - Salil Raheja

We have seen an increase in HR functions using analytics to help drive cost and reward optimization

The ongoing circumstances present a tremendous opportunity for the HR fraternity to step up, or as Bedi says, “become mission-critical for businesses”. How HR functions and leaders respond, participate, and contribute to the growth and success of organizations today, both big and small, will shape their ability to hold a stronger foundation in times to come. Remote work isn’t going anywhere, however, companies are steadily working around getting small percentages of employees back to offices. - Preeti Bose

Companies continuing with HR Tech investments aren’t just those that are financially stable True that companies need to establish the right partnership today to be able to plan and prepare for the future. Investment in HR tech has been an unending debate in recent years. It is no rocket science that tech boosts capabilities and provides support to the workforce by freeing their time for more strategic purposes instead of mundane manual tasks. However, to what extent does your organization need such capabilities and whether you require enterprise software or best-of-breed is absolutely unique to you. This is where insights and analytics come in, to be able to make strategic databacked decisions. - Swetha Nemala

WinPE Forum @winpeforum @Ester_Matters is CEO & Editor-in-Chief at @PeopleMatters2, and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of talent, learning and development, and work-tech. We are proud to have her on board as a member of the Advisory Board of the #WinPEProClub Mentorship Program. Nishtha Satyam @SatyamNishtha "Building business models that harness the potential of female employees can ensure profits & sustainability in the long run..ensuring that women have technological access..can bridge the digital divide.." In conversation with @PeopleMatters2. @UN_Women Fuel50 @fuel50 Fuel50 CEO @Anne_Fuel50 was interviewed by @PeopleMatters2 around the evolving role of #HR, the #HRTech landscape, workplace trends and more! Read the full interview at fuel50.co/afpm Birlasoft @birlasoft In an interview with @PeopleMatters2 earlier, @dkpr discussed on the challenges #business #Leaders face today, revealed how the #pandemic is transforming him as a leader, and also shared how Birlasoft is managing the #crisis. Helen Riess, MD @HelenRiessMD #Empathy can be taught and is a skill we should all develop and enhance. But how? Check out this article from @drishtipant in @PeopleMatters2

l e t tqeur isc okf r t heea m d os n t h

“It is also a good strategy to just sit tight and weather the storm.” What a refreshing take on the ongoing crisis and overcoming challenges. It certainly takes one to have a reasonable risk appetite to want to flourish as an entrepreneur, however, it’s equally true that not everyone might have the resources to do so. Nayak brings out a very optimistic yet realistic image of what to hope for and what one’s approach must be like. It’s heartbreaking to see several budding entrepreneurs having to put a halt to their efforts and pack up, owing to the business line they were in, a lack of resources, the market scenario, or any other reason that they individually face.

People Matters values your feedback. Write to us with your suggestions and ideas at editorial@peoplematters.in

Dr M Muneer, Medici Institute @Muneermuh @JeffreyPfeffer and I argue in @PeopleMatters2 Nov issue why employers must continue the best practices of the current crisis to post-covid new normal for employee wellbeing. follow

M > @PeopleMatters2

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december 2020 |

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Jobs

Global travel and tourism set to shed 174 Million jobs The global travel and tourism industry is on course to lose 174 MN jobs this year if current restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus remain in place, a leading industry group warned Friday. While alarming, the projec-

tion from the World Travel & Tourism Council was lower than previously expected, largely because of a strong recovery in domestic travel in China and rebounds in other countries. In June, the council warned that there could be 197 MN job losses worldwide in a sector that many nations are hugely reliant on economically.

Diversity

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McDonald's names new Global Chief Diversity Officer

StrategicHR

StanChart to offer flexible work to 90% staff

Standard Chartered Plc plans to offer flexible work options to more than 90 percent of its 85,000 staff over three years. The bank said about half its staff will be able to apply for some form of hybrid work from early 2021. Standard Chartered expects the program to apply to about 75,000 workers in 55 markets by 2023. Asia, Africa, and Middle Eastfocused bank said it aims for around 50 percent of its markets, comprising around 70 percent or 60,000 of its employees, to be able to adopt hybrid working patterns by the end of 2021. 10

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McDonald's announced this week that it has appointed Reggie Miller its new Global Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, effective November 9. He replaces Wendy Lewis, who retired in September. Miller has been working on diversity for large employers for the last few years: he was previously Vice President, Global Inclusion and Diversity at outdoor apparel brand VF Corporation, and before that Director of Diversity Strategy and Support at Walmart.

Employee Engagement

Haryana reserves 75% of private sector jobs for locals In 2019, a Bill was proposed in Haryana that would enforce a 75 percent reservation for locals in the state in private sector jobs that pay less than INR 50,000 per month. The Bill has now been passed, threatening the employment and livelihood of thousands and lakhs of individuals in the NCR region who travel to Haryana’s big city Gurgaon, and several smaller districts around to make a living. However, the bill also contains an exemption clause that can be invoked if suitable local candidates are not available for a job. In such cases, the company will need to inform the Government of having to hire workers from outside the state.


Hiring

Techfynder adds 122,000 contractors globally

One-stop solution for hiring IT contractors globally, Techfynder, has added 44,000 contractors from India over the past year. The platform now has 45,000 contractors registered from the country, depicting a 45fold increase in its Indian user base vis-a-vis last year’s 1,000 contractors. More than 122,000 contractors have joined the plat-

Culture

37% of engineers facing challenges working from home: Report form globally during the Q3 of the calendar year 2020 - a 32 percent QoQ growth in terms of users. Launched in October 2019, Techfynder is a unified platform that streamlines the process of hiring professional contractors. Recruitment

Compensation & Benefits

India Inc to offer 7.3% salary increment in 2021: Aon Survey

The Aon Salary Increase Survey has found that 87 percent of surveyed companies have reported that they intend to pay out salary increases in 2021. Of these, 61 percent of these organizations are projected to offer a hike between five percent and ten percent. This compares to 71 percent of companies providing increases in 2020, when, of that group, only 45 percent gave increases in the same range. The study analyzed data across 1050 companies from more than 20 industries.

A new study commissioned by Deliveroo suggests that the availability of delivery services may have protected up to 110,000 jobs in Singapore's beleaguered restaurant sector between April and June this year, when the city-state locked down activities and F&B businesses were barred from providing dine-in services— a measure that saw the F&B sector lose 22,900 jobs in that quarter, making it the worst-hit in the economy.

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Delivery services saved 110,000 F&B jobs: Study

q u i c k

BridgeLabz recently surveyed its more than 1000 alumni. The online survey theme ‘’Challenges faced by engineers working from home’’ aimed to understand the relation, if any, between the number of problems and the working experience of the employees. The respond-

ents possessed different levels of working experience in the categories of less than one year, a professional experience between 1 -2 years, and more than five years, representing 47 percent, 49 percent, and 4 percent of the sample group respectively. The survey asked if employees find WFH more challenging than working from an office. Irrespective of their professional experience, a majority of respondents across all groups agree being more comfortable with teleworking. While 64 percent find it easier to work remotely, only 36 percent of respondents said otherwise. december 2020 |

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newsmaker newsmakerof ofthe themonth year

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The new normal

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T

he year 2020 will be remembered as the year a global pandemic fundamentally altered the world. Healthcare systems around the world were challenged. Economies nosedived. Supply chains came to a standstill, as a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) claimed over a million lives. Countries resorted to drastic measures including the implementation of nationwide lockdowns, boosting stimulus packages to help businesses, and driving a singular focus on building healthcare capacity. The world of work united behind the phrase ‘‘the new normal’’ – which signified a new era of work – where only essential services were deemed most necessary to

| december 2020

operate, where knowledge workers who could work remotely worked from home and business operations moved to a digital-first eco system. It also signified a time when ruptures in businesses were opened up – and drastic measures were taken to stay afloat – downsizing operations, job cuts and salary cuts became common place. The ‘‘new normal’’ was the biggest remote working experiment. Research studies indicated that with a reduction of commute time, employees were actually more productive. But as the months went on, companies started noticing that employees were feeling burnt out. Workplace stressors combined with lack of work-life boundaries

contributed to anxiety and stress which further impacted the business. As a business leader pointed out, “Mental health is one of the measures of the fiscal health.” HR’s role took on centre stage as ‘people’ decisions were at heart of ‘business continuity’. From taking business critical decisions to sustain operations, scaling up learning programs, digitizing experience and findings ways of engage with employees and retain workplace culture, the ‘‘new normal’’ was a new ball game altogether. ‘Employee experience’ was no longer just about the employee; it had to accommodate the ‘family’ and the ‘environment’. ‘Health and safety’ moved on top of the priority list for most companies. And supporting employees in adjusting to new realities was also necessary. There are a number of lessons for business and HR leaders that 2020 has taught, in a way only a crisis can– that digital and automation efforts are no longer ‘‘good to have’’, they need to be mandated to ensure business operations. Mental health and physical health of employees were critical to business success. And leadership is driven through continuous communication and with a focus on empathy. And companies that don’t keep up and build resilience, will be left behind.


Essar appoints Stein Ivar Bye as Chief Executive Officer

The Board of Essar Oil UK announced the appointment of Stein Ivar Bye, as Chief Executive Officer. Stein Ivar Bye will be based at the company’s Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. He brings with him over 28 years’ experience in the Oil and Energy sector, working internationally across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Maybank appoints Zamzamzairani as new Chairman

Sanjeev Krishan has been appointed as the new Chairman of PwC in India for a four-year term commencing 1 January 2021. Sanjeev succeeds Shyamal Mukherjee, the current Chairman, who will step down on 31 December 2020 after completion of his term. Prior to this, Sanjeev has been a Deals leader and has over the years made a significant commitment to help build a sustainable practice for the future.

Shoppers Stop appoints new MD & CEO

Shoppers Stop has appointed Venu Nair as its new Managing Director & CEO, effective November 6, 2020, to lead the next phase of expansion. Nair replaces Rajiv Suri who announced his exit two years after being at the helm of the country's oldest department store chain in July this year. Nair is an international retail leader with 27 years of experience in the Retail & Apparel Industry across South Asia & Europe and was previously the CEO of Westside at Trent Limited.

Tata Communications appoints new CFO

Tata Communications, a global digital ecosystem enabler, has appointed Kabir Ahmed Shakir as its Chief Financial Officer. Kabir will be responsible for the strategic financial management of the company, including investor relations. Kabir brings with him nearly three decades of leadership experience in strategic financial management with a focus on growth, strong business processes, and operational execution across diverse industries and geographies. Until recently, he was the Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft India, responsible for Microsoft’s overall finance leadership across all entities in India.

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PwC India names new Chairman

Accenture has announced changes to its Global Management Committee, with the appointment of a new Chief Strategy Officer and leadership movements in its U.K. and Ireland business. Bhaskar Ghosh has been named Chief Strategy Officer, effective immediately, with responsibility for the company’s strategy and investments, including ventures and acquisitions. He will continue to lead the growth strategy for Accenture’s Industry X business, which includes digital manufacturing and intelligent products and platforms.

q u i c k

Maybank announced the appointment of Tan Sri Dato’ Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa as a Director and the new Chairman of Maybank effective 2 November 2020. The bank also announced that its Chairman, Datuk Mohaiyani Shamsudin, will retire on 1 November 2020, following nine years of service on the Maybank Board. Datuk Mohaiyani was appointed Director of Maybank on 22 August 2011, before being appointed as Chairman on 1 April 2017.

Bhaskar Ghosh joins Accenture as the Chief Strategy Officer

OYO Hotels & Homes appoints Global Chief Business Officer

OYO Hotels & Homes has announced the elevation of Ankit Tandon to Global Chief Business Officer of OYO Hotels & Homes. Ankit has been part of OYOs CXO leadership team since 2016 and in his new role, will lead the setup of OYOs Global Business Services and Business Performance Management teams. This will be in addition to the Global Project Management Office (GPMO) responsibilities he has been leading since October 2019.

Mercer appoints Achim Lüder as new Chief People Officer

Mercer, the human resources consulting firm, and a business of Marsh & McLennan, has announced Achim Lüder as its new Chief People Officer. Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Lüder is responsible for driving Mercer’s global people strategy, including building a diverse workforce and december 2020 |

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inclusive environment for over 25,000 colleagues across 44 countries. He reports to Carmen Fernandez, Marsh & McLennan’s incoming Chief Human Resources Officer, and joins the Mercer Executive Leadership Team led by Martine Ferland, President, and CEO of Mercer and Vice-Chair, Marsh & McLennan.

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Randstad North America appoints Bob Lopes as CHRO

Randstad North America announced the appointment of Bob Lopes as the company's new Chief Human Resources Officer. Lopes has served as an executive at Randstad's sister company Randstad Sourceright for six years. At Randstad North America, Lopes will develop the company's internal human resources practice and oversee all aspects of human capital, including recruitment, talent management, employee engagement, and organizational development.

Heineken announces the appointment of a new Chief People Officer

Chris Van Steenbergen will retire as Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Team Member on 1 January 2021, following a distinguished career at Heineken and other companies. He joined Heineken in 2014 from Royal DSM and prior to that worked for close to 20 years for Cadbury Schweppes in various leadership positions. Chris will be succeeded in the Executive Team as of 1 January 2021 by Yolanda Talamo as Chief People Officer. Yolanda is currently Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Heineken Americas.

First Abu Dhabi Bank appoints Head of HR-GBS

Senior industry professional, George Varghese has joined First Abu Dhabi Bank, Global Business Services Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru, India as Head of Human Resources. FAB is the largest bank in UAE with a presence in five continents. In this role, Varghese will be the part of the GBS leadership team managing the HR function. He is a versatile human resource professional, with 18 years of experience across entrepreneurship, manufacturing, IT/ ITES, retail, and pharma industry. 14

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Matrimony.com appoints its new CHRO

Leading consumer internet firm Matrimony.com has announced the appointment of S Rajesh Balaji as Chief Human Resources Officer. Balaji will spearhead all aspects of human resources strategy, talent management, building individual and organizational capabilities, organization design, and digitization.

Kotak Mahindra Bank appoints Shweta Pathak as VP, HR

Kotak Mahindra Bank has appointed Shweta Pathak as Vice President - Human Resources. In her new role, Shweta would be leading Campus and Talent Branding for the bank. Shweta is an Employer Branding, Strategic Recruitment Marketing, and Talent Experience Specialist. She has extensive experience on both corporate and consulting sides. Prior to joining Kotak Mahindra Bank, Shweta was associated with EdCast as the Assistant Vice President - Change & Engagement.

Lowe's India appoints new Senior Director, HR

Lowe's India, the Bengaluru-based retail technology, analytics, and business operations center for Lowe's Companies, Inc. announced the appointment of Mohith Mohan as the Senior Director for Human Resources in India. In this leadership role, Mohith will be responsible for change management, recruitment, workforce planning, compensation & benefits, employee relations, and performance management of the 2900+ workforce. He will also oversee the culture and diversity activities at Lowe's India.

SmartBank appoints Becca Boyd as the new Chief People Officer

SmartBank recently announced the promotion of Becca Boyd to Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer. As Chief People Officer, Boyd will lead the human resources department and all aspects of people management including training and development, payroll, benefits, recruiting, talent management, associate engagement, and HR technology.


ten Questions

Rapid-Fire

interview

Jacely Voon

Chief of People, Culture & Capital & CSR, Fuji Xerox Singapore By Neelanjana Mazumdar

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gather feedback from multiple sources involved, interpreting the information, obtaining their viewpoints, and building a consensus to forge ahead

One thing that makes you passionate about HR?

The one thing that inspires me about HR is helping people thrive, add value, and be valued within companies, society, and self. HR, at its core, is really about exploring different ways to make a difference

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Next big HR deployment Fuji Xerox is working around?

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What was the turning point of your life as an HR professional? The turning point for me was when I discovered employee engagement. It was the sweet spot that allowed me to connect peoples’ emotional relationship with their work to their own sense of personal purpose in life

Upskill and reskill through learning, unlearning, and relearning

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One tech/innovation that will transform HR?

One perception you wish to change about the HR function?

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That we are rule makers. Conversely, we are change agents who are purpose-led with a mission

A smart and intuitive HR technology that is embedded in Employee Experience – One that is intelligent, simple, and comes with personalized insights to enable positive employee engagement

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6

What's your learning mantra?

Upskill and reskill through learning, unlearning, and relearning

How do you make decisions when you don’t have all the necessary information? Pick from other’s brain and

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One must-read book for CHROs and HR leaders

r a p i d - f i r e

Employee Experience by refreshing Employee Life Cycle, integrating HR Technology, Outsourcing and HR Service Delivery

There is no one single mustread book for CHRO as there are always new publications, new ideas and, new knowledge to acquire

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Your advice for aspiring HR professionals?

Responsive and proactive with a “can do” spirit

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What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

I do my sutra chanting to bless my family and people in the world for good health and peace december 2020 |

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Redefining performance metrics With the ripple effect of COVID-19 being felt around the world, there's no better time to amend your performance review and metrics

Performance Management

By Anushree Sharma

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n March 2020, Facebook promulgated that it would give all its 45,000 employees a rating of ‘’exceeds expectations’’ in the performance review rating for the first two quarters. Some companies even canceled their review cycle of 2020 and many are struggling to make performance management goals fair and meaningful in this chaotic environment. With the impact of COVID-19, performance management has come a long way from the disputed argument around the bell curve to continuous performance management | december 2020

and now to an agile performance management system– making performance metrics fair and meaningful in a topsy-turvy, ever-changing, and uncertain-future environment. In an interview with People Matters, Ashley Goodall, SVP, Methods & Intelligence, Cisco shared, “The point of performance management, of course, is not to categorize performance as much as it is to enhance and increase it over time.” As organizations, we need to relook at our performance management systems and know the reason for meas-

uring performance. Is it a transactional activity of categorization of workers into different buckets of performances and nonperformers and decide whom to promote and whom to let go of ? Or is the aspiration broader than measuring activity to measuring results, enhancing performance than rewarding performance? The new approach to performance management will have to redefine the way they measure performance. Here are some key shifts you should consider:

A shift from annual goals to agile goals

The current disruption and future uncertainty of our business landscape require an agile approach to goal setting. Goals need to be immediately adjusted to focus an aligned effort on business needs and how employees can best deliver value to the organization. This requires an "agile mindset" that encourages employees to own their goals and expect change. Even anticipate it. Employees and managers should be on the


lookout for opportunities to pivot with changes to business needs and be rewarded for identifying new ways to make a positive impact. Managers should be given the expectation, authority, and flexibility to tailor goal setting to the team and the individual as their work changes.

critical step is to describe them in a way that raises the performance bar. People actually want to perform at higher and higher levels, but the next level of performance is often not welldefined.

Target the right behaviors and competencies

Measure how much your employees are engaged in training programs, track the number of activities they indulge in to upskill themselves that directly influence their skills Measure for upskilling: In a recent Aon Salary Increase Trends Survey 202021, one of the major shifts predicted was skill-based pay. Skill-based pay refers to a pay system in which pay increases are linked to the number or depth of skills an employee acquires and applies, and it is a means of developing broader and deeper skills among the workforce. This not only reinforces the outcome of your performance management– enhancing the performance but makes employees accounta-

Ashley shared, “The best way to measure what a team leader thinks of somebody on their team is not to have them attach a rating to that person, but to describe how they would invest in them.” Employee needs can't be adequately met in today's business environment using traditional performance management systems. Static performance reviews, annual goals, and infrequent feedback never really cut it before the crisis, but they certainly won't cut it now. It's time to make a change. december 2020 |

Performance Management

In an interaction with People Matters, Amit Malik, Chief People, Operations & Customer Services Officer, Aviva Life Insurance, affirms the same and states, “Performance metrics will be more tightly linked with the outcome (as opposed to effort) as remote working becomes a norm in the post-COVID-19 world. Leaders and employees have to be flexible and adopt continuous recalibration of goals and measures. For leaders, metrics will now need to necessarily track softer aspects such as the ability to respond to crises, empathy, and compassion for peers and subordinates & courage to deal with and implement rapid change in addition to business results and decision making. Another important element in performance discussion will be the addition of managing risk.” Food for thought: Identifying the right set of competencies is clearly the critical first step, but the next

ble for their own learning and growth. Measure how much your employees are engaged in training programs, track the number of activities they are indulged in to upskill themselves - reading books, attending online workshops, webcasts, or participating in competitions and events that directly influence their skills. Recognize employees’ flexibility and willingness to develop new skills and adapt to a different role and how they have contributed to overall service performance outcomes.

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Key takeaways from

Future of Jobs

WEF Jobs Reset Summit This October, the World Economic Forum's Jobs Reset Summit called for businesses, governments, and NGOs alike to come together and create a better, more inclusive future of work from the chaos left by the pandemic. We bring you a roundup of the key issues discussed By Maia Jenkins

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| december 2020


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Job creation has slowed as job destruction accelerates

Released in the same week, the WEF’s ‘Future of Jobs Report’ set the context for the summit and provided much data for discussion. One of the major changes to

Job Landscape

By 2025, new jobs will emerge and others will be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines

97 Million

happen in 2020 is the shrinking gap between the rate of jobs created versus jobs destroyed. The report found that, by 2025, 85 million jobs may be “displaced” by machines and 97 million new jobs may emerge that are “more adapted to the new Growing job demand: 1 Data Analysts and Scientists 2 AI and Machine Learning Specialists 3 Big Data Specialists 4 Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists 5 Process Automation Specialists 6 Business Development Professionals 7 Digital Transformation Specialists 8 Information Security Analysts 9 Software and Applications Developers 10 Internet of Things Specialists

Future of Jobs

ast week, the World Economic Forum hosted the Jobs Reset Summit, a virtual event that brought together some of world’s leading thinkers, policymakers, decision-makers, and future-shapers to discuss how, as we emerge from the pandemic crisis, we can maximize human capital and harness rebuilding strategies to create more inclusive, sustainable jobs and a better future for all. As we enter the final few months of a year marked by disruption, confusion, and uncertainty, the WEF Jobs Summit 2020 was a key milestone in the long process of fashioning a road map to recovery and offered a sobering but ultimately optimistic vision of where we need to go next. Across the course of the four-day summit, speakers touched on issues ranging from education, lifelong learning, leadership qualities, sustainability, and how to kick start a reskilling revolution in the wake of COVID-19.

Decreasing job demand:

85 Million Source: Future of Jobs Report 2020, World Economic Forum

1 Data Entry Clerks 2 Administrative and Executive Secretaries 3 Accounting, Book-keeping and Payroll Clerks 4 Accountants and Auditors 5 Assembly and Factory Workers 6 Business Services and Administration Managers 7 Client Information and Customer Service Workers 8 General and Operations Managers 9 Mechanics and Machinery Repairers 10 Material-Recording and Stockkeeping Clerks

december 2020 |

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Future of Jobs

division of labor between humans, machines, and algorithms.” Compared to previous years’ predictions, job creation is slowing down while job destruction ramps up. According to the WEF, the pandemic is largely behind this phenomenon. “COVID-19 has accelerated the arrival of the future of work,” said Saadia Zahidi, WEF’s Managing Director. “Accelerating automation and the fallout from the COVID-19 recession has deepened existing inequalities across labor markets and reversed gains in employment made since the global financial crisis in 2007-2008.” In just five years, the labor market will undoubtedly be transformed by automation

and digitization. The Future of Jobs Report even says work tasks will be ‘divided equally’ among humans and robots by 2025. Looking ahead, what are some of the roles humans can be expected to have the upper hand in over their robot colleagues? The research shows that ‘jobs of tomorrow’ will surge in: • • • • • •

The Green Economy The Data and AI Economy Cloud computing Product development The Care Economy Marketing, sales and content production • People and culture “This set of emerging professions also reflects the continuing importance of human interaction in the

Rate of Automation Machine

2025

53

47

67

33 Source: Future of Jobs Report 2020, World Economic Forum

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| december 2020

new economy,” the report said. While the rate of jobs being created has slowed, there are still jobs emerging to stop this gap. It’s important, however, that people have the skills to do them.

Skills for the Future

2020

Human

According to the Future of Jobs Report, work tasks will be divided equally among humans and robots by 2025. Looking ahead, what are some of the roles humans can be expected to have the upper hand in over their robot colleagues?

Skills go hand-in-hand with job creation. Future skills and how to get them was another topic up for debate at the summit. As the Future of Work Report predicts, 40 percent of core skills will change by 2025 and 50 percent of employees will need reskilling by that time. Using data from LinkedIn and Coursera, the WEF has tracked the Top Ten Skills of 2025:


Top 10 Skills of 2025 Analytical thinking and innovation Active learning and learning strategies Complex problem-solving Critical thinking and analysis Creativity, originality and initiative Leadership and social influence Technology use, monitoring and control Technology design and programming

Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

Type of skill Problem-solving Self-management Working with people Technology use and development Source: Future of Jobs Report 2020, World Economic Forum

It’s no coincidence that the need for skills related to selfmanagement such as resilience, stress tolerance, flexibility has surged in 2020, a year in which a global crisis has driven vast swathes of the workforce to work remotely from home. The urgent need to reskill fast has also been accelerated by the pandemic. To ramp up reskilling among their employees, many organizations will look to low-cost online learning programs. Already, there has been a four-fold increase in enroll-

that organizations and people were awakening to the fact that “skills are now the new currency.” On an earlier panel, Infosys President Ravi S. Kumar pointed to the need to reframe how we view pedigree and suitability for a job based on skills assessments rather than qualifications. “We depend on pedigree and degrees as a proxy to skills,” Kumar said. “We need to switch to skills.”

Mobilize International Common Purpose

A topic that came up time and again through the summit was ‘public-private collaboration.’ For a crisis of this magnitude, summit speakers emphasized the need for everyone—from businesses to governments to NGOs—to work across sectors to enable a successful jobs reset. Overall, there was a sense that response efforts to the pandemic had been fragmented and lacking in the collaborative global effort.

Future of Jobs

Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility

ment in these types of education programs. Across the course of Day 2 of the summit, there was a call for more global standards for the design, implementation, and recognition of these programs. Without more comprehensive, widelyunderstood standards, it will be difficult to pinpoint value and make certifications consistently meaningful. Gabriel Dalporto, CEO of Udacity, emphasized this point, asking: “how do we know that one machine learning program is equivalent to another? What is that standard we measure ourselves by so that employers have confidence they know what they’re getting?” Overall, however, this move towards more skillsbased quantifying of merit is a positive thing. Pointing to the silver lining behind this unprecedented outbreak, Panagiotis MadamopoulosMoraris, Director of Partnerships at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, said

The urgent need to reskill fast has been accelerated by the pandemic. To ramp up reskilling among their employees, many organizations are looking to low-cost online learning programs. How do we ensure that these programs produce meaningful outcomes for employees? december 2020 |

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Future of Jobs 22

Worldwide, some US$3 trillion has been spent on recovery but, as Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labor Organization, points out, these responses have varied largely from country to country. There’s a “lack of international common purpose in this effort,” Ryder said. Stefano Scarpetta, Director for Employment, Labor, and Social Affairs at the OECD, double-clicked on this growing problem, stating that “governments can’t address these issues alone. The business sector has to play a fundamental role. The speed of change means that regulations tend to follow. We need to rethink publicprivate collaboration.”

A green recovery

Beyond the pandemic, the threat of climate change and

| december 2020

the need for more sustainability were also high on the leadership agenda. On Day One of the summit in particular, there was plenty of discussion of how sustainability is not only an essential consideration but also an efficient way to create jobs. Springboarding off UNDP & WEF research that shows a green recovery could generate almost 400 million jobs by 2030, Unilever CEO Alan Jope said we must undo the “false dichotomy” that sustainability and growth cannot go hand-inhand, and realize that there will be an explosion of jobs in green industries going forwards. Companies that invest in sustainability and can prove this commitment to a green future will also be a “magnet for talent,” Jope said. Green recovery, therefore, is a fast track to building a more “job-full” future.

The ‘double-double’ shift of working women

Over seven months into the pandemic, it’s becoming clear which populations are bearing a disproportionate burden when it comes to job losses. The number of women leaving the workforce is an area of concern. Speaking on Day 4 of the summit, Karin Kimbrough, LinkedIn’s Chief Economist, said that pandemic-era data on women and work is already showing a worrying trend: since March, LinkedIn has tracked a drop in the number of women in recruitment and work. “Women were disappearing, by 3-4 percentage points, in terms of hiring, in March and April. It coincided with the COVID-19 shutdown and it was global,” Kimbrough said. “This is worrying because it means women are clearly bearing an unrecognized burden— whether it's childcare, elder care, or they’re juggling more at home. They need more intentional recognition of what they're going through.” Any recovery or plans for a return to work need to take into account the disproportionate toll the crisis has already taken on many working women. As WEF Managing Director Saadia Zahidi warned on Summit Day 2, many women have been asked


to work a “double-double” shift during the pandemic as both caregivers and in their jobs. According to Zahidi, we must do all we can to avoid a situation in which “the office becomes a place for men to return to and not for women.”

Diversity & inclusion

The WEF Jobs Reset Summit was a reminder of just how much the world has transformed in 2020 and how, with massive, collective effort, the crisis could provide a chance to truly build back a resilient, sustainable and inclusive society that is ultimately better for everyone map is still under construction. To be effective, it must take into account many factors: access to the internet for all, government interventions, investment in education at every level, public-private collaboration and a mindset shift from mere profit to multi-stakeholder integration, as well as both natural and human capital. In conclusion to the summit, WEF founder Klaus Schwab said he hopes the pandemic will spur us to

Future of Jobs

Without a doubt, the pandemic has exposed existing inequalities and shown just how precarious life is for the world’s most vulnerable. At the summit, there was an overarching call to take the opportunity to reset the social contract and build back better, dismantling outdated systems and ensuring these populations don’t get left behind. Parvathi SanthoshKumar, Vice President of Equitable Results at StriveTogether, spoke to this concern, commenting on how diversity and inclusion were often “an afterthought sprinkled to top existing plans, and our global systems were not designed to work for everyone,” adding that we now have an opportunity to “reimagine the arrangements and structures that seemed normal, but have really been called into question and work together to build a more equitable and just society that works for everyone.” When it comes to forging a way to recovery, the road-

move “from a society which is built on production and consumption to a society which is built on caring and sharing.” An inspiring and invigorating four days, the WEF Jobs Reset Summit was a reminder of just how much the world has transformed in 2020 and how, with massive, collective effort, the crisis could provide a chance to truly build back a resilient, sustainable and inclusive society that is ultimately better for everyone. december 2020 |

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Visa’s Chief Learning Officer on the acceleration of learning strategies Visa’s Chief Learning Officer Karie Willyerd discusses Visa’s key learning priorities to bounce back from the ongoing crisis and advises how HR and business leaders can together build a high-impact learning culture

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By Bhavna Sarin

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arie Willyerd is the SVP and Chief Learning Officer for Visa globally. An industry veteran with over three decades of experience, she was formerly head of SAP’s Global Education business unit and was the Workplace Futurist at SAP SuccessFactors. Karie also served as the Chief Learning | december 2020

Officer for Sun Microsystems, Chief Talent Officer for Solectron (now Flextronics), led the people development function at Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems, and ran executive development at H.J. Heinz. She was the Co-Founder and CEO of Jambok, the industry’s first video-based informal social learning software platform, which was acquired by SuccessFactors in 2011. Karie has written two highly recommended books: she coauthored the awardwinning bestseller, The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today, and authored Stretch: How to Future Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace, which was Amazon Editor’s Pick in Business and Leadership in 2016. Here are the excerpts.

What has been your biggest observation about employees throughout the first half of this year?

The last six months have shown how resilient we are as human beings. Who could imagine that so much of the world of business could be done from our homes? Whether we have young children popping into our video conference view or dogs barking in the background, we have learned not only how to be personally resilient, but how to also support our colleagues in ways we never imagined, with compassion, tolerance, and understanding.

What are the key learning priorities for your organization as you prepare to bounce back from the ongoing crisis?

Like most organizations, we’re keen to see economic recovery, so our key learning priorities are around preparing our client-facing employees with the skills to help our clients around the world leverage that economic rebound. I don’t believe the world will ever be the same and that will require us to be


increasingly flexible, so a second key priority is skilling our leaders with the mindset to build an inclusive and agile culture in order to be responsive to ever-changing conditions.

Have you revamped your L&D strategy? Or are you looking to?

The biggest barrier in my view has been our lack of recognizing when and how we achieve inclusivity. It just doesn’t happen magically on its own, because our unconscious biases insidiously prevent the level of inclusivity we want to attain. We have to make it a visible goal, with measures.

What is your advice for CHROs and people managers

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Of course, the best way to avoid significant reskilling is to continuously upskill. Imagine your first cellular phone compared to the one you have now. My first one was bulky and looked pretty similar to my landline phone.

What has been the biggest challenge in attaining learning inclusivity for organizations?

My belief is, this is the perfect moment to reinforce that we expect our managers to be responsible for building a sustainable workforce—not HR or Learning. If you think back to when you learned the most in your career, it was probably when you had a chance to do a project or a job that was a bit over your head. You stretched to figure out how to do it. You talked to people, you read up on the subject, and maybe you took a class. We can still do that. So much content is available free and online, and we can put people in new roles and coach them to success. No formal training or budget is required. That’s what we have to do when we’re in a pinch.

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The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, no less than 54 percent of all employees will require significant re-skilling and upskilling. How can organizations fill the skill gaps when their priority is business continuity and employee well-being?

The best way to avoid significant reskilling is to continuously upskill

who face challenges to skill and reskill their employees, including cost and other bottlenecks?

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Rather than revamping our strategy, we accelerated key aspects of it. For example, we were on a digital renewal of our learning infrastructure, with more emphasis on scalable and virtual learning solutions. As you know, the live classroom has retained a strong position in most corporate learning functions, and the pandemic has given us an opportunity to advance and scale learning. We have delivered 40 percent more training year over year, despite having no physical classrooms for more than seven months.

With each subsequent new phone, we added more technology. If I’d gone from that first one to my iPhone today, I’d have to take a class for it! But I learned a little every time. We have to build this into how people work and build in conscious learning while at work. The classroom should be for sudden advances or complex skills, not gradual and incremental. We now have tools to insert training into the platforms we work on, eliminating the need for training on small changes because the learning is there at our fingertips.

Organizations are facing a significant cultural shift after the crisis. How can business leaders and HR teams work together to create a highimpact learning culture in their organizations?

We should be boldly facilitating the conversations about these significant shifts. None of us knows where this is going, so we need to be talking to each other. What an exciting time for HR and Learning teams to be at the heart of a transformation, if only we’ll seize the opportunity. december 2020 |

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Reimagining the way we work: Intel's CPO 26

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In this Big Interview with People Matters, Sandra L. Rivera, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Intel Corporation shares some insights on how Intel, as an organization, is dealing with the current pandemic and how it is preparing itself for the post-COVID-19 times By Mastufa Ahmed

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deliver for our customers. This meant everything from safeguarding our essential workers to making sure that other employees were able to adjust to a work-from-home situation. Frequent checkins and over communication certainly have helped and we have had an increased focus on offering solutions for mental health and wellbeing as well.

What is your work-fromhome forecast for after COVID-19? What trends do you think will stay for the long-term and why? The pandemic has accelerated the future of work in many ways. Working from home is here to stay for many people, and I expect many companies to be much more flexible in where and how work gets done. I believe more companies will offer hybrid work options

I N TERVIEW

Intel, Rivera co-founded and served as president of The CTI Authority and served as president of the computer telephony division at Catalyst Telecom. In this exclusive interaction, Rivera shares her thoughts on how Intel reimagined the way they work in the times of the pandemic and what the future of work would look like as we reimagine our organizations for a post-COVID-19 era. Here are the excerpts from the interview. How has the pandemic hit Intel? What were your top challenges and how did you overcome them? While we have had to be nimble and adjust to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, our top priority remains the same: protecting the health and well-being of employees while keeping the business running to

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andra L. Rivera is Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Intel Corporation. She leads Intel’s Human Resources organization and is responsible for driving greater business results through a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion as well as being responsible for the company’s policies and programs related to human resources worldwide. Before assuming her current role, she led the Network Platforms Group, which was a global organization of over 3,000 employees that drove the transformation of network infrastructure to Intel-based solutions and enabled breakthrough ways to integrate Intel’s silicon and software portfolio to create greater customer value. The organization was one of the Data Center Group’s fastest-growing businesses, enabling Intel to become a market leader for network logic silicon, an annual $20 billion market segment. Rivera joined Intel in 2000 as a marketing director after the acquisition of Dialogic Corp. Before joining

The pandemic has accelerated the future of work in many ways. Working from home is here to stay for many people, and I expect many companies to be much more flexible in where and how work gets done december 2020 |

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where they allow employees to work both from home and on site. I also believe companies will continue to push for truth and transparency in dealing with challenges and decision making. We’ve now also seen a more personal side of many of our colleagues, which has given us all a little bit more empathy into everyone’s situations. I hope we continue to check in on one another and ensure we’re all doing OK.

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What does work culture mean for you for the postpandemic world? How has Intel amped up its work culture? What have you learned from employees in terms of their expectations? Work culture postpandemic means we have to be fearless and we have to focus on working together as one team. We are One

| december 2020

Intel because we work together to bridge gaps, break down silos, collaborate across teams and around the world to understand key challenges, solve customers’ problems, and succeed in new markets. None of us can accomplish very much without our teams. We’re all learning, growing, and finding new ways to move forward in our journeys, both personally and professionally. Our employees expect us to listen, understand, demonstrate flexibility and we’re focused on increasing transparency and adaptability in our culture.

How are you balancing the new ways of working? In your blog, you said, ‘We reimagined the way we work’? What does your new work equation look like? For employees who have shifted to the work from

home life, many are also balancing being educators, parents, and caretakers on top of their jobs. It’s been challenging to manage our worlds blending together. However, the pandemic has opened us up to new ways of working, allowing us to be nimbler in ways that we historically did not think possible. We have had to quickly find solutions so that each one of our employees has the resources they need to be productive, from tech services to at-home care and everything in between. Adjusting to this setting and mindset proved that we can do things differently, and successfully. We’ve been able to continue to

The pandemic has opened us up to new ways of working, allowing us to be nimbler in ways that we historically did not think possible. We have had to quickly find solutions so that each one of our employees has the resources they need to be productive


keep our customer commitments, stay on track and on time with shipments, and increase our manufacturing volume with greater demand for our products in a learn from home/work from home environment. We are evolving our culture in order to operate with greater speed and agility which better positions us to prepare for a future we can’t always predict.

themselves and balancing the additional workloads we are all facing now.

With many workplaces now being forced to operate remotely, and flexibility being the new norm now, do you think the crisis will eventually help allow more women to remain in the workforce while balancing home and work life? I do believe this gives women more opportunities to remain in the workforce. When you’re able to spend more time at home

Practices that have worked well have spread rapidly to other teams throughout the company and little things are making a big difference. For example, encouraging meeting-free Fridays and other ‘no meeting’ zones, shortening meetings by starting 10-minutes past the hour, encouraging employees to take days off to disconnect, and building in time for learning and development. These are ways we have found success in encouraging our employees to prioritize taking care of

and create your own schedule, you don’t feel like you’re putting one part of your life before the other. This flexibility takes the pressure off, not only women but men as well. In fact, I’m hoping this pandemic helps us all be more empathic and understanding toward each other. However, this won’t happen if we don’t offer new ways for our employees and especially our working parents to contribute. We have a number of programs that we’ve rolled out, including job-share, flexible work december 2020 |

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One thing that we have learned so far from the pandemic is that we need to keep being intentional about building a culture in a remote work environment and continuing to evolve our culture as things change

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How are you helping your organization in building adaptability and instilling resilience in your employees? As a company that builds world-changing technologies that enrich everyone’s lives, being resilient and adapting to change is in our blood. We have built a culture of building solutions to tackle challenging problems, even for those that are intangible. That is what my team and I commit to everyday – figuring out how to make Intel the best company it can be and a major part of this is ensuring our employees are supported and encouraged to keep moving forward. We are increasing our investment in resources and solutions that focus on the mental health and physical well-being of our workforce to ensure everyone is healthy as we pursue our mission to create worldchanging technology.

Intel has over 100 thousand employees spread across 46 countries. Which of your well-being and remote talent management measures have worked really well for you and why? Our employees’ safety and well-being are our priority. We have built a strong culture of technology innovation and having positive impact in the communities where we operate, but as the marketplace evolves, so will we. A part of that is listening to our employees to understand their needs.

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schedules, part-time options, and additional offerings for physical health, mental health, and online tutoring to support families.

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How digitized is your HR environment? How are you gearing up to help the business seize the opportunities in 2021 and continue to meet partner and customer demands? To continue to evolve as a business, learning has become an essential part of our culture, not only to gain a competitive advantage but to help employees grow their careers. We are continuing to create an organization where employees are constantly able to learn and leaders are always developing their skills. Much of Intel’s future growth outside our core business demands that we learn how to compete in new markets, with new customers, using new business models, while also designing and building products in new ways. With the shift to remote work, we have had the opportunity of continuing to foster a learning-oriented culture even when at home, which means that our tools and resources need to be digitized. What are your top lessons from the pandemic? Can you share one initiative that you want to take on in the coming year? One thing that we have learned so far from the | december 2020

Maintaining and encouraging employees’ individuality remains key. We have a multi-generational workforce with different skills, motivations, and aspirations, but we are aligned globally around serving our customers in the markets in which we participate pandemic is that we need to keep being intentional about building a culture in a remote work environment and continuing to evolve our culture as things change. We want to ensure we are reinforcing our culture during company and team meetings and create an environment where our employees can bring their full selves to work, which might mean surprise guest appearances from pets or kids in meetings. At the same time, maintaining and encouraging employees’ individual-

ity remains key. We have a multi-generational workforce with different skills, motivations, and aspirations, but we are aligned globally around serving our customers in the markets in which we participate. We want to continue to harness that individuality, that innovation, that expression of each of our employee’s experiences, expertise, and capabilities to live into our purpose: to create worldchanging technology that enriches the lives of every person on earth.


The work-life post-COVID-19: From collision to integration As we move toward a new year, there is an impending need to find a healthier way to work, making necessary adjustments not just at home to accommodate work, but also at work, factoring in the varying circumstances employees live in and how they are impacted as they work from home

‘If your time to you is worth savin' And you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin'

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hese lines come from a very popular song called ‘For the times they are a-changin', by Bob Dylan. If you are incessantly busy convincing colleagues, leaders, and employees that ‘this phase is temporary and we will get back to normalcy’, dear stranger, consider this a wake-up call, because the times, they are a-changing! In a recent global survey by Blind, a verified anonymous professional network, on being asked if individuals were able to separate work from home life effectively, the responses revealed that 62 percent of professionals are not able to separate work from home life effectively, and the statistics were higher for

w o r k - l i f e b a l a nc e

By Bhavna Sarin well-established organizations - 71 percent of professionals at Apple are not able to separate work from home life effectively, the corresponding percentage for both Google and Microsoft stands at 72 percent. It’s time to zoom out and look at the bigger picture and acknowledge that you need to not just bring in technology to enable workflows but you need to change and manage expectations, mindsets, and culture to move forward. It’s been over seven months and the year is coming to an end, employers can no longer emphasize that work and life have collided and we have to get used to it no matter how one impacts the other, instead, they need to address the issue and find a more healthy and productive manner to proceed into the coming year, being cognizant of how we want work and home life to look like and make the necessary adjustments not just december 2020 |

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at home to accommodate work, but also at work, factoring in the varying circumstances employees live in and how they are impacted as they work from home. There is an urgent need to make work-life post-COVID-19 such that we can succeed and grow professionally as well as personally, without compromising either.

What’s changing and what stays the same

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“I believe that the key pillars or core components of healthy work-life balance will not neces-

In a post-pandemic world, people will look for organizations and leaders to take more responsibility for their holistic well-being and build a culture of trust and equality sarily change post-COVID-19. The pillars continue to be awareness, discipline, and conscious prioritization. As an organization, we prioritize the overall well-being of our employees over anything else. Therefore, in such a situation, most of our critical decisions are driven by employees themselves!” shared Sushant Patnaik, Head-HR at Aeris Communications. He added that the organization has given oneday compulsory off every month (in addition to leaves and holidays) to continuously remind employees to keep their work-life and health in balance.

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Dr. Gaurav Hirey, Founder & CEO, GoEvals brings forth another aspect in his article on “Intelligent Tools: The secret sauce to a successful hybrid workplace”. He believes that the term ‘work-life’ balance is going to take a whole new meaning. “The future is essentially going to be about ‘work-life merge’ and ‘hybrid’ workplaces.” In essence, a shift in how and where work is done. One such organization that has been quick to adapt to a shift in working styles in the face of the pandemic is Tata Steel. Last month, the India-based steel manufacturer announced a new work model that allows employees to work from home for up to 365 days a year. The new Agile Working Models' policy is a move toward a "trust and outcome-based working culture" and to give more flexibility to its employees, stated the company. The outlook to enable and empower a geographically distributed workforce is gaining momentum. STL’s CHRO, Anjali Byce shared her thoughts on this approach, "Confucius said, “the key to success is often the ability to adapt”. These wise words are relevant in our current context; with many roles moving to a ‘Work from anywhere’ – WFA (not just home)! ‘Adaptability’ truly is the key ingredient for a healthy and productive work-life integration- Consciously build boundaries between work and life, prioritize to get disproportionate results, practicing mindfulness, and retaining hobbies are the secret sauce! It’s also important to reflect on how WFA


Shifting from work-life collision to work-life integration

While the early months post the coronavirus outbreak called for immediate attention to go above and beyond to save businesses and economies, it is high time employers began to align workplace expectations, policies, and practices according to the present circumstances of not just

the business, but also employees. “Emotional and physical wellbeing would continue to be the key pillars around which a productive work-life balance would be pivoted. The additional dimension brought in by COVID19 is the element of remote and distributed work-teams, and the adjustments that one needs to make in managing the social needs of people and looking to work in teams. We have proactively worked with our employees and strengthened several wellbeing programs, which allows w o r k - l i f e b a l a nc e

has ironically resulted in worklife balance. Today, one can meet multiple customers/ stakeholders across the globe – all in a day’s work- each hour different geography!” Beyond working models, what’s also critical to shaping work-life post –COVID is employee expectations. Highlighting prevalent employee expectations, Accenture India’s Managing Director and Lead for Human Resources, Lakshmi C. said, “In a postpandemic world, people will look for organizations and leaders to take more responsibility for their holistic well-being and build a culture of trust and equality. A recent Accenture research suggests that by meeting six fundamental human needs emotional and mental, relational, physical, financial, purposeful, and employable - through work, both our people and our business will be “Net Better Off ”. As organizations boost these dimensions and create meaningful, trust-based relationships with their people, they will unlock their people’s full potential and see an increase in overall business performance.”

them the flexibility to choose and adopt to their convenience,” shared Arun Dinakar Rao, Chief People Officer, Birlasoft. Employee benefits are already experiencing restructuring to align with the needs and demands of a post-COVID workplace, and it is equally important to revamp the entire organizational design acknowledging the fundamental changes in the way we live and work post the pandemic. Here is how some organizations are working towards improving the quality of work-life post-COVID-19: december 2020 |

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Provide clarity to plan: Global organizations like Twitter, Google, and Uber have led the charge on this aspect by announcing the likely duration of functioning in a remote working setup much sooner. Nutanix is yet another organization, among many others emerging, to take a stand and provide clarity to employees. Nutanix’s India SVP and MD-Operations, Sankalp Saxena, shared, “To ensure the safety and security of our people during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have extended work-fromhome for our employees until

Flexible working not only portrays an organization's intent to create a workplace for the upcoming generations but also solidifies its intent to cater to the needs of its diversified workforce across geographies September 2021. Post that, we will likely return to the hybrid model of both remote and in-person work options, depending on what works best for our people.” Implementing and executing relevant initiatives: Focused on self-care and resilience, Accenture has offered a variety of programs and tools to enable people to take care of their wellbeing. “We have a digital hangout destination known as myDigital Workplace for our people to stay connected, and access learning resources and guidance on subjects ranging from setting up a virtual workspace to manag-

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| december 2020

ing one’s time and well-being. Our AI-enabled chatbot provides mental health self-help techniques and access to mental wellness experts,” shared Lakshmi C. She added that the organization has also introduced a Virtual Summer Camp under their existing Parents at Work program which provides parents with online and offline resources to keep children between the ages of 5-12 constructively engaged. Boosting productivity with a hybrid working environment: “A value-oriented and culture-rich ecosystem spurs the motivation levels of employees, wherein stress levels are neutralized and greater mental well-being is achieved,” emphasized Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP, Head - HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp. He added that post-COVID-19, when employees return to office, “the transition is bound to take time and it has to be a facilitated process with policy amendments. Especially in the IT industry, flexible remote working should no longer be an exclusive privilege, and more employees could likely deliver expected levels of productivity (or even more!) with hybrid work environments. Quite a lot of work-life collision could be minimized with this approach.” Encouraging social interactions: Speaking of the burning need to maintain social interaction amid social distancing, Clumio’s GM & Vice President of Engineering, India Operations, Sandeep Soni noted that for a remote working setup, the key pillars of a healthy and produc-


review. It could often be momentary where some stressors just need to be spoken about to feel lighter. Don’t you remember the last time you shared something that stressed you out with someone and felt lighter immediately after? Why limit that sensitivity to family and friends? It is all about being compassionate and encouraging empathy. Your employees, leaders, and colleagues are as human as your family members and friends who you deeply care about and would want to know about. It’s time to create that safe space at an organizational level and foster meaningful workplace relationships. The new year presents an opportunity to pause and look back. Reflect on what you need to start/stop/continue in the next year, as an individual, as a team, and as an organization, in a manner that benefits, not just the business but also employees. Redesign the not so successful practices, tear down year old ways of thinking, and finally, adapt not just your policies but also your mindset to the way of life that’s relevant today. december 2020 |

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tive work-life would be staying connected, focused, healthy and fit. “We conduct Zoom happy hours frequently to stay connected and enjoy with our colleagues offline. Come today, we have encouraged and adopted a hybrid model of work by first, ensuring a safe work environment. Our employees come together a day or two in the week to collectively brainstorm and make key decisions and then go back to execute the decisions taken with clarity. This allows us to have a good balance of safe social interactions and execution towards our strategic initiatives.” Training leaders and managers to enable workflows: Shedding light on how leaders and managers can contribute to an improved quality of work-life post-COVID, Giridhar GV, EVP Global Human Resources, HGS, said, “Employers must ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of the workforce more than ever before to counter the challenges caused by sedentary work for long hours, limited social interactions and health anxiety. Businesses will also need to equip leaders and mid-level management to better collaborate through the right mix of technology and skill to handle a dispersed and virtual workforce. More interactions and collaboration within the team to retain the social aspects of the workplace while also driving productivity is critical, and HR teams must play a big role in this.” Normalize not being ok and being open about it, without fearing a consequent impact on

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COVID-19 is not just a health crisis, but also a social and economic crisis: World Bank’s Annette Dixon

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In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Annette Dixon, Vice President, World Bank Group Human Resources shares her thoughts on how COVID-19 will change the world forever and what would it take to help countries bounce back

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By Mastufa Ahmed

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nnette Dixon is the World Bank Group’s Vice President for Human Resources, responsible for providing strategic leadership to the institution on talent development and overseeing all HR policies, programs, services to support the Bank Group’s global workforce. Prior to this appointment, Annette was the World Bank’s Vice President, Human Development, overseeing the Global Practices for education; health, nutrition, and population; gender; and social protection and jobs, and the Gender Group. | december 2020


Here are the excerpts from the interview.

You have been with the World Bank for over two decades now. What are some of the special moments for you as a global HR leader in terms of impact and achievements? I have been fortunate to see the impact of our work from different perspectives as a Country Director, Regional Vice President for South Asia, and most recently as Vice President for Human Development, leading our work to support country investments in social protection, health and

education. That, in itself, has been a most rewarding and fulfilling experience. One of the achievements that I am proud of has been the work that we have done as an institution to enable countries make the right investments in improving social safety nets, health and education, as part of the human capital project. In 2018, we launched the global Human Capital Index as a way to quantify the contribution of health and education outcomes to national productivity. This index now covers 103 countries and is an important contribution to building a world in which

In the short-term, I think that the response to COVID-19 needs to be intensified: both in terms of the health emergency and efforts to find effective support systems and recovery plans

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She led the Bank’s work on Human Capital and oversaw the COVID-19 emergency response, under which the Bank delivered $20 billion in human development investments. Before joining the region, Annette was Director, Strategic Planning in the Budget, Performance Review and Strategic Planning Vice Presidency and Country Director to Central Asia, then Southeast Asia. She joined the Bank in 1999 and worked as Sector Director to Human Development in the ECA region. Annette is a long-standing champion on gender issues. In South Asia, she set a target to deliver 100 percent gender-informed projects and interventions, going beyond the global corporate requirements. Under her leadership, the regional priority for South Asia was to support countries to improve Women’s Labor Force Participation. Prior to joining the World Bank, Annette Dixon worked for the Government of New Zealand as Chief Executive of the Ministry of Youth Affairs. She also served as General Manager, Sector Policy; Deputy Director-General in the Ministry of Health; Director of Health Policy, Department of the Prime Minister; and Manager Policy Division, Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

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all children reach their full potential—growing up wellnourished and ready to learn, attaining real learning in the classroom, and entering the job market as healthy, skilled, and productive adults. And now, in my current role as HR VP, I get to focus on our own internal human capital at the World Bank. I see my role as helping our talented staff be the best that they can be. The other part of the job is about attracting the best talent to come and work for us.

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also a social and economic crisis. Many millions of people are out of jobs and kids out of school. And government budgets are strained and country debt levels are increasing. Our response as the World Bank Group has focused on saving lives, protecting the poor and vulnerable, ensuring sustainable business growth, and rebuilding in better ways. We are delivering emergency support to over 100 countries so far and have made available up to $160 billion in financ-

It is premature to predict how long the recovery will take and it won’t be the same for every country. Most countries will need strong economic growth and job creation, which require a healthy and vibrant private sector What’s your take on how global leaders and governments responded to the COVID-19 crisis? Do you see any gap? Will COVID-19 change the world permanently? COVID-19 is the biggest challenge of our generation. There is no doubt that global leaders are taking this pandemic seriously, given the impact on people and national economies. Many countries are facing multiple vulnerabilities; this is not just a health crisis, but it’s | december 2020

ing over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help countries strengthen their health systems and support their poorest people during the crisis. And recently, we announced a fast-track facility that will provide up to $12 billion in financing to developing countries for the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The world post-COVID-19 will look very different in many ways. In the shortterm, I think that the response to COVID-19 needs

to be intensified: both in terms of the health emergency and efforts to find effective support systems and recovery plans. There is a greater need for speedy and decisive policy support, global coordination, and policy transparency. We need to help countries rebuild in better ways.

The crisis, which has unleashed a global health emergency and an unprecedented economic crisis, has brought a massive drop in labor income for workers around the world. How can we come out of this and how long will the recovery take? The current economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 is broader and deeper than previous recessions, and has hit the poor, and especially women and children, the hardest. We estimate that the global economy will shrink 5.2 percent this year, representing the deepest recession since the Second World War. The pandemic could push up to 150 million more people into extreme poverty by 2021. It is premature to predict how long the recovery will take and it won’t be the same for every country. Most countries will need strong economic growth and job creation, which require a healthy and vibrant private sector. To this end, the


World Bank Group’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is implementing an $8 billion fast-track financing facility to keep liquidity flowing to businesses during the crisis, especially to micro, small, and medium enterprises, which are a major source of employment in developing countries. Vaccines will also play an important role. We have to

prises. At the same time, it is critical that as countries work to recover from this pandemic, they do so in ways that will strengthen their systems and ensure a more robust, sustainable and resilient future. The pandemic has underscored the deep connections between economic systems, human health, and global well-being.  Also, we must ensure that the lessons learned from

this pandemic are put to use for future crises. This means putting knowledge and data at the center of our operations; to help governments make vital decisions informed by the best and latest research. In Africa, for example, this knowledge transfer has been critical. The World Bank Group was able to help many countries fight COVID-19 by building on lessons and systems put in place during the Ebola crisis. We were able to leverage regional networks developed with WBG support after Ebola to help countries quickly scale up early detection, testing, and tracing.

How do you see the impact of the pandemic on the women workforce globally? Do you think diversity and inclusion are critical for recovery and business resilience? The COVID-19 crisis is exposing – and exacerbating – inequalities throughout the world. An estimated 1 in 3 people are excluded, or at risk of being excluded, from economic opportunities, including women, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and sexual and gender minorities. With 740 million women globally in informal employment and a majority employed in services, women are particularly hard hit by the crisis. Women december 2020 |

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make sure that the poorest countries do not have to wait years to access vaccines. We are working closely with UN agencies, other MDBs, bilaterals, and the global health funds - CEPI and GAVI, as well as the countries themselves to make sure they have access to financing and technical support for diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, as well as the logistics support to be able to deliver them.

Do you think the crisis also provides an opportunity to build back stronger systems for people and economies? Where do you see the future of work five years down the line? Yes, absolutely. We must prioritise assistance to the most vulnerable through strengthening schemes such as cash transfers and extending credit to small and medium enter-

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often face lost opportunities and reduced financial independence due to school closures and increased unpaid family care responsibilities; and heightened risk of disease exposure due to their role as caregivers and health workers. As part of our response to the pandemic, we are ramping up our investment in cash transfers by $10 billion over the next 15 months. For example, in Pakistan, $25 million will provide emergency cash transfers for up to four million people under the national safety net. The assistance will help the poorest buy food and

prevent them from having to sell vital assets. An additional $12 million will finance delivery of basic food supplies to 40,000 people who are quarantined or have limited mobility. In Tajikistan, the existing Targeted Social Assistance system will provide timebound cash transfers to foodinsecure households with children under the age of two, to mitigate the effects of increased food prices and protect children’s nutrition.

As experts say, technology will be at the heart of every workplace as we return to office post the

The COVID-19 crisis is exposing – and exacerbating – inequalities throughout the world. An estimated 1 in 3 people are excluded, or at risk of being excluded, from economic opportunities

COVID-19 crisis. What should be at the core of digital innovations that businesses will look up to move forward in the long term? Technology can play a critical role, including in the fight against the pandemic. In many countries, we see how digital technologies are saving lives by enabling smarter approaches to social distancing and contact tracing. At the same time, we see how technology is enabling e-commerce and access to financial services through mobile payments, as well as bringing remote education to many millions of children. The pandemic is definitely accelerating the adoption of these digital technologies. However, a big concern is that far too many people risk being left behind. Only about 35 percent of the population in developing countries have access to the internet. Leadership is always hard to define but is easy to identify in times of crisis. What type of leadership does the world need today and how do you see the future of leadership? I think right now this is a time for empathetic and collaborative leadership. Around the world, we can see many examples of countries managing to contain the pandemic, and get their economies back on track. The leaders who are making progress are doing this by

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communicating and collaborating with all stakeholders so that everybody is aligned around what needs to be done to save lives and help to restore living standards.

What are your current areas of focus and top challenges? What keeps you up at night? If you were to share one lesson you learned from this crisis, what would it be? We have FOUR priorities. The first priority is to help the institution get through this pandemic safely, so that we can continue to serve our client countries through the deepest global crisis of our lifetimes. This means focusing on actions that support the health and well-being of our employees and adapting our core HR processes to allow as much flexibility as needed. Secondly, in light of the pandemic, we see a critical need to expand our footprint to strengthen our presence in the countries we support. That will mean locating more of our experts into locations that are closer

to our clients. A third priority is to continue to drive organizational performance and effectiveness. This includes strengthening talent development, career enrichment, and managerial effectiveness. Last, but not least, as an international organization, we are redoubling our efforts to strengthen diversity and inclusion. Underpinning these priorities is, of course, the need to continue investing in strengthening the HR function. The lesson that I take away from this crisis is that we have been able to perform most of our core functions while we all work from home. While this may not be a sustainable way to work in the longer term, it has however helped open our minds to new ways of working in the future. december 2020 |

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What does the World Bank Group's HR landscape look like? As the HR lead, what all initiatives have you taken so far to safeguard your employees and ensure their continued productivity? How has the impact been? The World Bank Group is a global institution with staff in over 100 countries. Nearly all our 16,000+ staff are working remotely from their homes around the world. All through the pandemic, our primary focus as an HR function has been to help our staff stay safe, while continuing to serve our client countries. We have taken steps to give our staff the support they need to adapt in the face of this pandemic. A big part of this was about addressing issues around work-life balance, mental health and resilience. With the support of our global health network, we are providing extensive ongoing psychosocial support, online access to health professionals and safety information, and free COVID-19 testing. In the few locations where we have reopened our offices, we have put in place enhanced safety measures including workplace social distancing measures and PPE.

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Moin Qazi

The woeful tale of bank pensioners

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Salaries in public banks are far less attractive than in private banks. The only consolation is the provision of pension which too has now been reduced to a measly sum

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ublic banks have played a historically stellar role in financial inclusion and the development of the social sector. They have been the backbone of the government’s socio-economic agenda and have made a transformative impact on the country’s development landscape. But sadly, the contribution of their employees has not been adequately recognized. The government has paid little heed to their worsening service conditions. While there have been paltry raises in salaries, there has been virtual stagnation in pensions for over two decades

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particularly when inflation has been soaring to such high levels. Salaries in public banks are far less attractive than in private banks. The only consolation is the provision of pension which too has now been reduced to a measly sum by a strange and unjustifiable logic of the government. This logic doesn’t meet the test set out in several judicial pronouncements as also the stipulations of several publicly recognized welfare codes for senior citizens. There may have been some black sheep in the industry that have tarnished the image of banks, but the entire fraternity cannot be made to suffer and atone for their misdeeds. We must understand that even government departments have suffered periodical scams but that has never detracted us from the remarkable work of some of our outstanding civil servants. The bureaucracy forms the bulwark of India’s public administration and the misconduct of some employees has not prevented the government from doing justice to the sector as a whole. So is the case with the public banking sector. The employees have always delivered


Salaries, leaves, and other service conditions of public sector bank employees and officers are decided by bilateral agreements once every five years. But pension does not form part of this contractual arrangement

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on official policies and programs. In the absence of competitive salaries, the only motivation for keeping their morale intact is fairness with them in their service conditions. Their overall compensation should be commensurate with both the volume of work and the nature of risks involved in the operational roles. Salaries, leaves, and other service conditions of public sector bank employees are decided by bilateral agreements entered into between management and employee representatives once every five years. But ironically, pension does not form part of this contractual arrangement. This is where the parallel between the government sector and the banking sector ends. During the signing of the 10th bipartite settlement with the staff unions of banks, the Indian Banks Association (IBA- a panIndia federation of banks) clarified that "as banks do not have any contractual liability towards the pensioners, the demand for revision of pension along with salary revision cannot be accepted". Pensions in government are typically inflation-indexed. This is not so in the case of bank employees. The pension of bank retirees is not revised/updated in line with the periodical revision of salaries as is done in the case of government employees where both salaries and pensions are simultaneously revised when the periodical Pay Commission’s wage revision take effect. While the lowest grade government pensioner gets a propor-

tional raise at every such revision, this is not so in the banking sector. Here, even a retired topgrade executive has to make do with a fixed pension throughout his entire life. He might have been at the helm of affairs of a large bank, enjoying attractive perks, but his post-retirement life is made miserable by the government logic that makes his plight worse when he is likely to be most in need of assistance and care. In fact, the government is so magnanimous with its pensioners that it gives a few percentage points increase for those december 2020 |

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who have completed 75 years of age. This is further enhanced in higher age bands. This in indeed a laudable gesture and demonstrates not just policy wisdom but reflects the enlightened thinking of modern societies. All this logic is lost when the rules for bank pensioners are formulated, even though their case is identical. This contradictory approach smacks of bias and unfairness. According to bank unions, basic pension for bank retirees has not been revised for almost two decades though inflation went up 10 times. The family pension in banking is only 15 percent while in the RBI and government, it is 30 percent. In some cases, the amount of pension paid for bank retirees is a measly sum of Rs. 175 per month, not enough even for a monthly cable subscription for a TV. In such a situation, old age is an increasingly scary prospect for bank employees. This position is quite contrary to even the basic notions of social protection for | december 2020

ordinary senior citizens. We are already moving to a social protection age where several countries provide old-age allowance and universal pension. It is an acknowledged fact that the government’s socio-economic programs have to make extensive use of the banking platform for both delivery and monitoring. It is public banks that have revolutionized rural India through the social banking era of the 1970s and the subsequent village adoption and branch expansion regime. Public banks continue to remain the primary hope for India’s financial inclusion agenda and delivery of its development programs. They are the one-stop delivery platform for all financial needs of the local rural populace. With financial inclusion being universally recognized as an important tool for alleviating poverty and improving the lives of the disprivileged, it is all the more important that we address some of the appalling working conditions of bank employees. One of the reasons adduced for denial of the claim of bank staff for commensurate wages and pensions is India’s pile of soured loans. One must understand that this is only part of the making of bankers. It is actually a classic example of how powerful and politically influential tycoons have undermined financial norms and bank regulations to secure credit and then default on it. When borrowers become insolvent, their loans are added to an existing mountain of debt. Each time this happens banks have to make heavy write-downs, ploughing the


sadly proved ineffective against powerful dodgers. We keep adding new laws when the existing ones are adequate and just need more teeth to get results. Most of our laws lack imagination and foresight and it takes a long time to make them roadworthy. Many of them don’t meet the tests of judicial scrutiny. A moot point is that the government has to shoulder the additional financial burden required for the pension revision of its employees, which is usually done by adjusting the tax rates which increases their revenue to meet this additional expenditure. Thus, government pensions have to be funded by the taxpaying public. Most banks are already making provisions for pensions by setting apart portions of their profit towards pension reserves. Thus, in the case of bank employees, pension is paid without any outgo of revenue on part of banks or government, as such payment is made out of the reserves.

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dud loans like rotten potatoes, ultimately blocking the credit line and vitiating the credit culture. But why should the bank staff be penalized for this conundrum? This is in fact further compounding the whole problem. We have dedicated forums that are already dealing with the malfeasance of individual staff. But the general criticism and censure of the entire banking community seriously impacts the morale of employees. We must not forget that the momentum created by the earlier generations of bank employees continues to propel the workforce even in the face of a pandemic like Covid-19. We all know the huge casualties that public banks have suffered during demonetization. Politicians are also guilty of undermining the integrity of banks. They have been stacking the decks with populist sops and have used banks as spigots for burnishing their election credentials. Most big defaulters have the money to employ legal eagles who can game the judicial system— it is here that the law flounders. India has some of the most draconian laws in books, which have

According to bank unions, the basic pension for bank retirees has not been revised during the last two decades though inflation went up 10 times december 2020 |

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This reserve represents money, property, and deferred wages of employees that are held in trust by the banks themselves. In the case of the State Bank of India, the trustees of its Pension Fund have over the years built an adequate corpus for meeting future pension obligations. It is considered sufficient to meet pension liabilities for a long future. The Supreme Court has ruled that pension is a deferred wage payable to a retiree and hence it is the statutory responsibility cast on the employers. The

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Banking has always served as the chariot of India’s development success. Behind this gleaming image is the largely undocumented saga of grassroots employees of banks, particularly those who are engaged in development work in remote locations

| december 2020

Supreme Court’s epochal observation in a different context (Assistant General Manager, State Bank of India v. Radhey Shyam Pandey, 02.03.2020) has relevance in the present context also: “The basic framework of socialism is to provide security in the fall of life to the working people and especially provides security from the cradle to the grave when employees have rendered service in heydays of life, they cannot be deprived of in old age, by arbitrarily taking action and for omission to complete obligation assured one.” In public banks, the pension structure was designed exactly on the principles that were applied to pensioners of the Reserve Bank of India. In compliance with clause 6 and 12 of the Memorandum of Settlement dated 29.10.1993 between Indian Banks’ Association and All India Bank Employees Association, entered into under the Industrial Disputes Act, it was clearly specified that the general conditions of pension scheme in banks shall be on the lines of the RBI Pension Scheme. The government had at one stage declined the RBI employees' demand for revision of pension on the lines of government employees on the ground that it would have a contingent effect, and would lead to similar demands from other public sector banks. The financial burden of updating pension in the RBI was Rs. 858 crores while the bank’s pension corpus was around Rs. 12,000 crore. The government had to finally agree because the logic was on the side of RBI employees. RBI pensioners


ment work in remote locations. The work of these employees may not command great attention; but in merit, it may equal or exceed the greater and more conspicuous actions of those with more freedom and power. When it comes to compensation, one or more issues often get mixed up. There is talk of money buying talent but not a commitment, the development banking sector needing a high level of commitment, and so on. This may be true, but one must not forget that a large number of competent, committed, and concerned people would not venture into the banking profession if it did not secure their future financially.

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got a notional rise of 10 percent in their salaries plus dearness allowance with each of the three wage revisions in 2002, 2007, and 2012. In the case of public banks too, the corpus available is far larger than the actual financial burden involved in the payment of pensions. But the government doesn’t want to apply the same principle to public banks. Maybe, the RBI clout was too strong to be overlooked. In addition, the workforce of RBI was much smaller than that of public banks. According to bank unions, the pension corpus of public sector banks is at about Rs. 171418 crore, which is 14.28 times of RBI’s pension corpus. Thus fair pensions are not only necessary for bank employees, but they are also affordable for most banks. With the government having shown both wisdom and prudence in revising/updating the pension of employees of RBI, one hopes it will show the same prudence in the case of public banks. The PSB employees deserve the undoing of this long-entrenched injustice. Their service conditions require a serious relook. Their work involves physical and mental discomfort as well as great risks. Many of them have to work in hard geographical and climatic terrains and are constantly exposed to threats of fraud and even physical assault. Banking has always served as the chariot of India’s development success. Behind this gleaming image is the largely undocumented saga of grassroots employees of banks, particularly those who are engaged in develop-

Moin Qazi worked for three decades at State Bank of India in various developmental roles. He served as Chancellor's nominee on Nagpur University and Member of National Committee on Financial Inclusion at NITI Aayog. He was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Manchester. He received UNESCO World Politics Essay Gold Medal, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Gold Medal from Dalit Sahitya Academy, and Rotary International's Vocational Excellence Award. december 2020 |

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We need to think of the future in fairer terms: ILO’s Dagmar Walter

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In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Dagmar Walter, Director, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team for South Asia and Country Office for India shares some insights on the impact of COVID-19 on jobs and how employers, associations, and economies can work together to improve the future of the job market By Mastufa Ahmed

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agmar Walter has spent over 20 years of her career with ILO, worked in several regions and duty stations across Africa, Europe, the Americas, and now Asia. Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, she strives to foster office efficiency and team spirit for integrated technical assistance to ILO constituents in collaboration with stakeholders and development partners. Key areas include tackling employment and social protection challenges from an international labor rights perspective, shaping the “future of work we want” through effective social dialogue. Prior to her ILO career, Walter worked with international development and | december 2020


human rights, as Consultant and Deputy Representative to the various UN human rights bodies in Geneva. Walter holds a Master of Public Administration from the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP). Here are the excerpts of the interview.

uing measures to keep the pandemic under control but also an appropriate sequencing of policy interventions to restart work and workplaces. And the only way to reach this goal is through social dialogue. For example, ILO in India has engaged with members of Employers and Workers for the ‘Establishment of Enterprise level COVID-19 Task Forces’. Members have agreed to promote a bipartite dialogue on safety in resuming economic activi-

Right now, rebuilding means protecting jobs and ensuring that economies do not sink any deeper than they already have. At the same time, we must look ahead to ensure we build back better ronmental sustainability at the center of the recovery phase.

The impact of COVID19 on work is far more profound than we think it is. How can employers, associations, and economies work together to improve the future of the job market? Do you already see work in this direction? Working together is indeed the key. A job-rich recovery towards a better and fairer future of work will require not only contin-

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Between April-June 2020, the world lost almost 400 million full-time jobs due to the pandemic, according to ILO. How can we rebuild and reimagine jobs amid the coronavirus crisis for businesses to stay future-ready? Actually, the situation is much worse. In our last report on the impact of the pandemic published in September, we have estimated that the working hour losses for the second quarter of 2020 were thought to reach 17.3 percent of the global working hours, equivalent to 495 million full-time jobs (based on a 48-hour working week). Lower-middle-income countries are hardest hit, with a decline in working hours of 23.3 percent (240 million fulltime equivalent jobs). With so much uncertainty, it’s difficult to predict the future. We estimated that the labor market recovery during the second half of 2020 will be slow and uncertain. Under a pessimistic scenario, which assumed a second wave of the pandemic, working losses could remain as high as 11.9

percent, equivalent to 340 million full-time jobs. In any case, even in an optimistic scenario, which assumes a faster recovery for workers, global working hours would not return to the pre-crisis level by the end of 2020. Right now, rebuilding means protecting jobs and ensuring that economies do not sink any deeper than they already have. At the same time, we must look ahead to ensure we build back better, which means putting equality and envi-

ties at the enterprise level. With support from the ILO, All India Organization of Employers is setting up a help-desk to provide guidance to Medium Scale Enterprises on business sustainability. The organization is also supporting the employer’s organization to widen their reach, so the smaller businesses can benefit from the resources and guidance to cope with this pandemic. To fight the COVID-19 crisis, countries have taken extraordinary measures. The policy mix varied across december 2020 |

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these countries, but a large part of the fiscal response took the form of deferrals and waivers of tax, social security contributions, and other payments, as well as offering grants, credit guarantees and wage subsidies to businesses (including SMEs), in some cases, conditional on employment retention. This expanded existing social protection schemes in most advanced economies for workers and vulnerable households (including unemployment benefits, sickness benefits, and social assistance), which accounted for the bulk of discretionary spending. Large conventional and unconventional monetary policy measures were also enacted very quickly to prevent a liquidity crisis. These are appropriate measures, which we hope will be maintained to prevent us from reaching unsustain-

able levels of unemployment and guarantee social protection for all.

Do you think the new work-from-home phenomenon can transform the job market? Will this give rise to a global competition for every single job role? If employees are able to work from anywhere, do salaries get adjusted to the cost of living in the area they choose to live? The COVID-19 crisis has greatly accelerated the changes we were already experiencing in the labor market. It is not only about teleworking; new forces are transforming the world of work. Technological advances – artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics – will create new jobs, but those who lose their jobs in this transition may be the least equipped to seize the new

opportunities. Today’s skills will not match the jobs of tomorrow and newly acquired skills may quickly become obsolete. The greening of our economies will create millions of jobs as we adopt sustainable practices and clean technologies but other jobs will disappear as countries scale back their carbon- and resource-intensive industries. We need to seize the opportunities presented by these transformative changes to create a brighter future and deliver economic security, equal opportunity, and social justice – and ultimately reinforce the fabric of our societies. Forging this new path requires committed action on the part of governments as well as employers’ and workers’ organizations. They need to reinvigorate the social contract that gives working people a just share of economic progress, respect for their rights, and protection against risk in return for their continuing contribution to the economy.

As more organizations are embracing technologies to adapt to the new normal, do you think the future of work will be tech-centric or people-centric? In some cases, technology has improved work-life balance, reducing commuting time, and increasing worker’s autonomy to organize their time. But it has 50

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The effects of COVID-19 are taking a disproportionate toll on women in the labor market, as the sectors with high rates of female

employment are experiencing heavier job losses. Do you think the long-term impact of the pandemic will have a disproportionate effect on women? The COVID-19 crisis is indeed disproportionately affecting women workers in many ways and there is a risk of losing some of the gains made in recent decades and exacerbating gender inequalities in the labor market. The severe impact of the pandemic on women work-

home during lockdowns. India already has one of the world’s lowest rates of female labor force participation, which declined from 32.2 percent in 2005 to 20.8 percent in 2018. The pandemic has made things worse. India-Rapid assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on employment done by the ILO estimates that 181 million people in households, mostly women, engaged in domestic duties or unpaid family business, are bearing the brunt

A job-rich recovery towards a better and fairer future of work will require not only continuing measures to keep the pandemic under control but also an appropriate sequencing of policy interventions to restart work and workplaces ers relates to their overrepresentation in some of the economic sectors worst affected by the crisis, such as accommodation, food, sales, and manufacturing. Globally, almost 510 million or 40 percent of all employed women work in the four most affected sectors. Moreover, women are heavily engaged in frontline occupations in the health-care sector, they have suffered disproportionally from job loss and reduced hours, and they often face a heavy burden at

of the increased care and work burden. There are ways to ensure that women’s job prospects are not damaged long-term by the COVID-19 crisis, such as: promoting Public Employment Services (PES) that focus on helping women find jobs in essential production and services; improving the working conditions for health, care, and other essential workers; strengthening family-friendly working-time arrangements; increasing the participation december 2020 |

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also led to longer hours, increased ambiguity between paid work and personal time that requires people to be constantly available, all of which are associated with higher levels of stress. Looking forward, as these new forms of work are likely to intensify, working time regulations will need to reflect these new realities in an effort to harness the opportunities and benefits that technology offers, as well as address any potential downsides and risks to well-being. At the ILO, we advocate for a human-centered approach for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing workers’ rights and the needs, aspirations, and rights of all people at the heart of economic, social, and environmental policies. This approach consists of three areas of action: strengthening the capacities of all people to benefit from the opportunities of a changing world of work; strengthening the institutions of work to ensure adequate protection of all workers; and promoting sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

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and representation of different groups of women in decision-making bodies, and lastly, by promoting employment policies that proactively counterbalance the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on women.

postponable challenges of climate, digital and demographic transition. This is what defines the better normal that has to be the lasting legacy of the global health emergency of 2020.

What are some of the top questions that leaders need to ask to prepare for the future of work? What leadership traits will businesses need most to get from the “new normal” to a “better normal”? We need to think outside the box because nobody knows what the new normal will be. One thing is clear; we cannot let our decisions be dictated by the constraints imposed by the pandemic rather than our choices and preferences. We’ve heard this before. The mantra which provided the mood music of the crash of 2008-2009 was that once the vaccine to the virus of financial excess had been developed and applied, the global economy would be safer, fairer, more sustainable. But that didn’t happen. The old normal was restored with a vengeance and those on the lower echelons of labor markets found themselves even further behind. We have before us the task of building a future of work, which tackles the injustices that the pandemic has highlighted, together with the permanent and no longer

India and other South Asian countries have collectively lost 110 million jobs in Q2 of 2020. What's your advice for business leaders to rebuild the job market and prepare the youth for the future of work as they come out of the pandemic? What we’ve said in our latest report about the incidence of the pandemic is that Southern Asia has lost

| december 2020

for the region. In Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand, youth unemployment rates are expected to reach at least double the 2019 estimates. According to our estimates, one of the reasons young people in the region face greater labor market disruption and job losses than adults is that nearly half of them (more than 100 million) were employed in the four sectors hardest hit by the crisis: the wholesale and retail trade and repair; manufacturing; rental and business services; and accommodation and food services. Young women are overrepresented in three of the four most

We need to seize the opportunities presented by these transformative changes to create a brighter future and deliver economic security, equal opportunity, and social justice – and ultimately reinforce the fabric of our societies a number of working hours equivalent to 110 million jobs for the second quarter of 2020 (a decline of 17.9%). The youth are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Between 10 and 15 million youth jobs (full-time equivalent) may be lost across 13 countries in Asia and the Pacific in 2020, according to our newest report

affected sectors, particularly in accommodation and food services. That’s why the ILO has called for the adoption of urgent, large-scale, and targeted measures to generate jobs for youth, keep education and training on the track, and to minimize future scarring of more than 660 million young


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people in the region. More generally, actual labor market outcomes for the future will depend on the choices countries will make, as well as on the pandemic’s future trajectory. The decisions taken in the near future are likely to have long-lasting implications for the world of work. A number of key challenges will have to be addressed. We have to find the right balance and sequence of health and economic and social policy interventions to produce optimal sustainable labor market outcomes and implement policy interventions on the necessary scale at a time when resources are increasingly constrained. We need to support vulnerable and hard-hit groups and generating fairer labor market outcomes. The pandemic has laid bare some of the worst deficits

inequalities of our societies. In that case, how do we build a better normal that supports the most vulnerable first? The world needs to strive towards a better normal to address high and rising levels of inequality that erode the very foundations of our economies and societies. We know that employment policies, wage policies, social protection policies, as well as fiscal policies are critical in addressing inequalities. We need to rethink our fight against inequality. With and inequities of the world that purpose in mind, we of work and made them have to build a universal and worse. Unless explicit attention is paid to improving the comprehensive social protection system, including a solid position of the most disadsocial protection floor. At vantaged and vulnerable, the recovery processes could the ILO, we can build on the aggravate existing injustices. ILO Social Protection Floors Recommendation (No. 202), Lastly, we need to secure adopted in 2012, that provides international solidarity, an outcome-oriented frameespecially for emerging and work that is based on human developing countries. The rights principles and interrhetoric of the need for a global response to the global national labor standards but leaves room for countries crisis of COVID-19 needs to to reach these objectives be translated into concrete measures to assist countries through different means. Reconstruction cannot with limited fiscal space, in be done at the expense of particular through multilateral action to deliver conces- the most vulnerable population. If we can’t rethink the sional finance and debt future in fairer terms we will relief. have lost the battle against the pandemic twice over. We According to Guy Ryder, must take advantage of the the social and economic extreme circumstances in impact of COVID-19 is being which we find ourselves to felt hardest by informal rethink a much fairer model workers and by enterprises that takes into account the in high-risk sectors. It has mistakes of the past. exposed the frailties and december 2020 |

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Visty Banaji

Action research for HR

For too long have we relied on 'fads, fashions, and folderol' expensively packaged by consultants or on borrowed behavioral science research to guide HR innovation. How can we acquire the ART of building knowledge?

The road less travelled

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oon after I started working (and for a couple of decades thereafter) the only journals that lined the shelves of my cabin were the ‘’Journal of Applied Psychology’’ and ‘’Personnel Psychology’’ – supplemented, a few years down the road, with the ‘’Administrative Science Quarterly’’. They provided an endless stream of ideas for launching pioneering initiatives and a salutary check against leaping on to the bandwagon of the latest fad doing the rounds 1 or the less sane ideas coming from my own imagination. All three journals (and many others besides) continue to be gold standards for the latest international research in the behavioral sciences and organizational behavior. Counterintuitive as it may appear, these seemingly theoretical compendia of recent research in the behavioral sciences are of immense practical use (as Lewin pointed out, there is nothing so practical as | december 2020

a good theory 2) in taking decisions based on sound knowledge and evidence. "Evidence-based management … derives principles from research evidence and translates them into practices that solve organizational problems." 3 This is easier said than done because, as Denise Rousseau put it, "research findings don’t appear to have transferred well to the workplace. Instead of a scientific understanding of human behavior and organizations, managers, including

those with MBAs, continue to rely largely on personal experience, to the exclusion of more systematic knowledge. Alternatively, managers follow bad advice from business books or consultants based on weak evidence. Because Jack Welch or McKinsey says it, that doesn’t make it true." 3 Just in case HR practitioners think they don’t need to update themselves, there is enough research showing how outdated are the beliefs to which HR managers cling. 4 & 5 Among the costs of


Tying research to reality

Human nature is, in many respects, the same the world over, and the kind of journals mentioned in the opening sentence of this column provide us invaluable and ongoing insights into its functioning within organizations. Yet, there are three important reasons why even

a wider range of such readings cannot provide all of the founded intellectual sustenance we need to keep ourselves on a sound scientific track and avoid professional obsolescence. The first reason for supplementing the rarified view academic research provides us with insights of our own is not limited only to India. Donald Schon captures this challenge well. "In the varied topography of

Just in case HR practitioners think they don’t need to update themselves, there is enough research showing how outdated are the beliefs to which HR managers cling professional practice, there is a high, hard ground overlooking a swamp. On the high ground, manageable problems lend themselves to solution through the use of research-based theory and technique. In the swampy lowlands, problems are messy and confusing and incapable of technical solutions. The irony of this situation is that the problems of the high ground tend to be relatively unimportant

to individuals or society at large, however great their technical interest may be, while in the swamp lie the problems of greatest human concern. The practitioner is confronted with a choice. Shall he remain on the high ground where he can solve relatively unimportant problems according to his standards of rigor, or shall he descend to the swamp of important problems where he cannot be rigorous in any way he knows how to describe?" 8 My strong belief is that we need both kinds of knowledge accretion. While we need to be adequately conversant with the latest academic research, as practitioners we too need to add to the body of generally accessible learning in the behavioral sciences. To do so, it doesn’t suffice to solve problems as and when they crop up but to consciously design and record our interventions with an element of scientific rigor and documentation that can aid in dissemination and integration with the body of theory that already exists. Let’s turn next to the need to replicate, verify, extend or contradict research that has already been conducted elsewhere. Contradicting the proposition that all men are the same everywhere, Shakespeare wrote (though I am sure my readership is a little milder than the people december 2020 |

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this blinkered neglect of current theory and research can be counted the "persistent use of practices known to be largely ineffective (e.g., downsizing … [and] high ratios of the executive to rank-and-file employee compensation." 3 Regular readers may recall that criticisms of both the practices pilloried by Rousseau have found a place in these columns. 6 & 7 There is no doubt the best international journals of research in the behavioral sciences (unfortunately, few of them are published in India) can put us on the path to evidence-based management and the design of stateof-the-art programs and processes. For us in India, however, they can provide only part of the understanding we need about what’s happening in the foundational disciplines on which HR is based. This column deals with why such sterling publications leave a gap and what we can (indeed, must) do to bridge it.

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to whom Macbeth addressed these lines): Ay, in the catalog ye go for men, As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clept All by the name of dogs‌ ‌ And so of men.9

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Evolutionary Psychology gives us several insights into why people in different parts of the world may have evolved with physiological differences that give them predisposing behavioral tendencies. In a previous column, I have referred to a possible reason we in India are collectivist in orientation but with a strong bias against outgroups. 10 In the same piece I pointed out aspects of our historical and cultural heritage which makes us significantly different from employees in the West (from where much of the highest quality research in applied Psychology originates). For instance, our support and need for autocratic leaders, the challenges we face while working in teams and our over-reliance on jugaad (at the cost of process) all indicate that findings on any of these key organizational parameters cannot simply be transposed from, say, the US to India. We may not need to reinvent the wheel every time but we do need to be sure a suitable | december 2020

set is fitted securely to our aircraft before we try taking off on a flight of fancy. Lastly, the pressure we in India experience to solve certain pressing problems may be very different from the priority more developed countries need to give to the same issues and, therefore, the extent of research resources they devote to these may be negligible. For instance, take the sense of rootless helplessness felt by millions of Indians who were in the process of making the rural-urban transition, in many cases, across state boundaries. Their vulnerability became heartbreakingly apparent when the lockdown response to the COVID-19 crisis prompted them to try reversing their transition to the city, which they had precariously navigated earlier. There is no comparable

recent phenomenon on this scale researched anywhere else. Or take our well-documented albatross: caste. 11 Is research on race in the US and Europe really a close enough fit for us to preclude researching the causes and cures of the biases that prevent Indian organizations from inducting, integrating, and elevating Dalits and tribals in the workforce?

An India-focused behavioral research movement

There is a huge unfulfilled need and vast scope for India-specific behavioral science research. Educational institutes for postgraduate study in the behavioral sciences and HR can and are playing a role in building such a corpus of learning. What they are adding to the reservoir of knowledge needed is,


of Action Research Teams (ARTs). ARTs would be the basic building blocks of an industry-wide movement for creating a constantly growing body of locally relevant behavioral research. While most ARTs would be housed within a corporate entity, not all its members need to be that organization’s employees. In fact, an ideal ART composition would be of Panchadhatu. Apart from a far-sighted leader, each team would have some energetic and fresh-thinking youngsters (either from new additions to the HR team or even students wanting industry exposure) balanced with more experienced HR practitioners who have not lost the urge to learn as well as to create knowledge. To bring perspectives from outside HR there would be team members from the rest

of the organization – preferably representative of the population under study. Finally, the cooption of an academic keen to bridge the industry-institute divide would bring an invaluable degree of rigor in methodology as well as access to knowledge that has already been established, both in our country and abroad. The actual number of people in the team would, of course, depend on the size and urgency of the project. ARTs would be embedded within HR departments which would naturally direct research in the directions relevant to their organizations’ business strategies and pioneering HR initiatives. Each completed ART project would, however, after stripping it of its confidential content, be made available

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however, a trickle. Where else can we look to make the flow into a flood? In my opinion, unless those of us who are HR practitioners in the industry play an active role in generating research-based knowledge as we work, we will perennially continue to wear handme-down research clothes initially tailored for our Western professional counterparts. Every HR professional with an inquiring mind and an intellectual bent owes it to the larger HR community to set aside some time and resources to add to the body of scientifically established and practically useful knowledge that everyone can use. Easily stated but how is it to be done? One way to get a behavioral science research movement going in the Indian industry is to encourage the formation of myriads

Evolutionary Psychology gives us several insights into why people in different parts of the world may have evolved with physiological differences that give them predisposing behavioral tendencies december 2020 |

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for use by other researchers as well as teachers and practitioners. Exceptionally revealing and useful research should, of course, be rewarded by the firm. As we will see in the concluding section, the greater recognition would be bestowed by the HR community as a whole. Would this not take away too much time from HR’s primary tasks of making people happier 13 and of providing support

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were thrilled when we first read about the Hawthorne studies. Though the studies have taken a fair amount of beating since then 14 there is no gainsaying the reputational advantage of carrying out and sharing research about people behaviors and processes. "Historically leading corporations such as Cadbury, IBM, and General Motors were actively engaged in research on company selection and training practices, employee

There is a huge unfulfilled need and vast scope for India-specific behavioral science research. Educational institutes for post-graduate study in the behavioral sciences and HR can and are playing a role in building such a corpus of learning. What they are adding to the reservoir of knowledge needed is, however, a trickle to the business? In fact, it is precisely to carry out these goals that HR needs research-founded principles rather than anecdotally based or currently fashionable 'best' practices. If, along the way, we can make a lasting contribution to the quality of HR in the country should we grudge a small part of our working time contributing to mitigate the 'tragedy of the knowledge commons'? 13 People of my generation | december 2020

motivation, and supervisory behavior. Their efforts contributed substantially to the early managerial practice evidence base. But few organizations today do their own managerial research or regularly collaborate with those who do; ‌ the press for short-term results have reduced such collaborations to dispensable frills." 3 These are the kind of pathbreaking traditions leading Indian corporates should revel in reviving.

A huge opportunity for associations of HR professionals

In recent years, leading HR bodies that have provided forums for the networking, development, and recognition of HR / ER professionals in India have been threatened by the emergence of younger, more agile and in several cases, more specialized competitors. In response, many of the lying-on-laurels bodies have started introspecting, innovating, and inventing themselves once again. As they create new agendas and action plans for the ’twenties, there is a platinum opportunity to place the encouragement of behavioral science research at the hub of their revival strategies. Let me be clear. I am not suggesting most of the research is to be carried out or even commissioned by these bodies. They can, however, have a four-fold catalyzing impact. To start with, they can periodically poll their members and announce research themes which are knowledge gaps crying to be filled in our current context or what we anticipate for the future. Secondly, HR associations can work with reputed institutes and practitioners (who have themselves carried out robust research) to conduct workshops for members on the basic principles of


is an open challenge to all professional HR bodies in India. Which of them will best encourage the research that brings HR from India worldwide fame? Notes:

behavioral science research, experiment design, statistical methods as well as load allocation and team-working among (part-time) ART members. Perhaps the associations’ most important contribution can come from the recognition they bestow on top-notch and themerelevant research. Such recognition should occupy center-stage in the awards these bodies hand out and go only to truly outstanding research that takes the understanding of people and the practice of knowledgebased HR in India a long step forward. 15 Lastly, the associations can be repositories and clearing houses for

research that members have carried out. This knowledge-base can be invaluable support for the HR community in general and, if detailed access is provided only to members, a hefty incentive to people to join and remain as members. Of course, the newer association kids on the block are also free to make research a cornerstone of their offerings. The professional bodies that best progress the cause of encouraging and facilitating high-quality research in the behavioral sciences among Indian corporates, will deserve to snatch the crown of professional association leadership. Here then,

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Perhaps the associations’ most important contribution can come from the recognition they bestow on top-notch and theme-relevant research

1. Marvin Dunnette, Fads, fashions, and folderol in psychology, American Psychologist. 21(4):343–352, April 1966. 2. Kurt Lewin, Field theory in social science: Selected theoretical papers, Harper & Row, 1951. 3. Denise M Rousseau, Is there Such a thing as "Evidence-Based Management"?, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 31, No. 2, Published Online:1 Apr 2006. 4. S L Rynes, A E Colbert, and K G Brown, HR professionals’ beliefs about effective human resource practices: correspondence between research and practice, Human Resource Management, 41: 2, 2002. 5. T Timmerman, Misconceptions about HRM start early, Journal of Human Resources Education, 4: 1, 2010. 6. Visty Banaji, People are not beans, 13 July 2016, (https://www.peoplematters.in/article/talent-management/people-are-notbeans-13660). 7. Visty Banaji, But who will guard the guardians?, People Matters, 14 March 2018, (https:// www.peoplematters.in/article/compensation-benefits/can-runaway-increases-in-executive-compensation-be-slowed-down-17720). 8. Donald A Schon, Knowing-In-Action: The New Scholarship Requires a New Epistemology, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, Volume 27, 1995 - Issue 6. 9. William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 3 Scene 1. 10. Visty Banaji, Music and management, People Matters, 5 February 2020, (https://www. peoplematters.in/blog/life-at-work/musicand-management-24574). 11. Visty Banaji, There is an Elephant in the Room- And the Blind Men of Indostan Can’t See it, People Matters, 26 September 2018, (https://www.peoplematters.in/article/ others/there-is-an-elephant-in-the-room-andthe-blind-men-of-indostan-cant-see-it-19335). 12. Visty Banaji, HR’s business should be happiness raising, People Matters, 24 September 2019, (https://www.peoplematters.in/article/ life-at-work/hrs-business-should-be-happiness-raising-23175). 13. Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom (Editors), Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, The MIT Press, 2011 14. Steven D Levitt and John A List, Was There Really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant? An Analysis of the Original Illumination Experiments, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Vol 3, January 2011. 15. Visty Banaji, The (funny) business of HR awards, People Matters, 18 February 2020, (https://www.peoplematters.in/blog/ strategic-hr/the-funny-business-of-hrawards-24718).

Visty Banaji is the Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC) december 2020 |

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Mental health is fiscal health: Emily He, Oracle Oracle’s Senior Vice President, Emily He discusses the findings of a new research on AI at work – a study that maps the role of technology in navigating mental health issues, even as companies around the world struggle to effectively help employees

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By Jerry Moses

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s the pandemic blurs the line between work and life of employees working remotely, conversations around the issues around mental health have risen in the last several months. In a recently published "AI at work'' study, employees around the world said they were likely to talk to a robot about mental health issues rather than their manager. To discuss the findings of the study, People Matters spoke to Emily He, Senior Vice President, Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group.

Could you give us an overview of the 'AI at work' study and some of the key findings?

The problem is that a lot of people are not trained to address mental health issues. If there’s an employee who reports being depressed, the instinctual response is to tell them ‘not to feel depressed’. This is where technology can help | december 2020


One outcome of the pandemic is that when you talk about anxiety and stress, people no longer think it’s strange. That’s because everyone is experiencing it at a certain level According to the study, only 18 percent said they’d like to talk to a human. Why are people more comfortable talking to a robot? There seem to be a couple of reasons – One is the stigma that is still associated with mental health and people don’t want to talk about mental health openly in the workplace. And in particular, they don’t want to talk to their manager about mental health because that could have work implications. Another reason that people seem to prefer technology is that robots offer

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The “AI at work” study is currently in its third year, it’s a study that’s published in partnership with Workplace Intelligence. The purpose of the study is to assess the readiness of employees to embrace technology and its use cases. In this edition, over 12,000 HR professionals, C-suite leaders, HR managers from across the world participated in the study. The findings from this year’s research were both surprising and not surprising. It wasn’t surprising because over 70 percent of the people said that 2020 was the most stressful year. Mental health is impacting over 78 percent of the workforce around the world. It isn’t just impacting workplace productivity; it is also affecting personal lives. Employees are reporting sleep deprivation, reduced happiness at home, as well as failing family relationships. And employees need help and they are looking at their companies and technology to do more. 68 percent of the employees said they’d prefer to talk to a robot over their manager. In India, that rate is even higher – over 91 percent said they’d prefer a robot. Mental health is no longer a personal issue, it is an organizational issue. And it needs to be on the agenda of HR teams and managers.

a judgment-free zone. They can also provide quick and accurate answers. So if you’re feeling anxious at night, you don’t have to wait, you can use a digital assistant. The one thing that’s an outcome of the pandemic is that when you talk about anxiety and stress, people no longer think it’s strange. That’s because everyone is experiencing it at a certain level.

What are some workplace shifts that are needed at this point – to bridge this gap? Companies are already december 2020 |

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changing their benefits plans to address some of these issues. But globally, over 76 percent of the employees say that companies need to do more. The problem is that a lot of people are not trained to address mental health issues. If there’s an employee who reports being depressed, the instinctual response is to tell them ‘not to feel depressed’. This is where technology can help. A digital assistant can provide the right response and the right resources. It’s a quick way to make employees feel ‘aware’ of the existing resources. A lot of mental health issues we’re seeing right

now aren’t complicated – it's often rooted in fact that there’s a blurring of work and life priorities. When you’re at the office, there are a lot of breaks that are naturally built into your work. But when you’re working from home, you need to manage your schedule, you need to exercise and meditate – you can’t work 24x7.

Workplace productivity is being re-examined as a result of this blurring or work-life and the mental health issues associated with it. How can technology help here? People are feeling the pressure to meet performance standards, and

Just like we have an onboarding process, why don’t we give employees a mental health process?

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they’re burned by tedious and routine tasks, and they have an incredible amount of workload. When the pandemic first started, there was a collective sense of elation, because for a long time people have been asking to work from home but companies weren’t as trusting. Now, when all of us are working from home, the management has realized that people are actually working more. But as there are productivity gains, it is creating more stress, and employees are feeling disengaged. There is a real responsibility to help employees cope with workplace stressors. In India, 65 percent of the people said they are working more than 40 hours per month. So that’s a lot of hours, which previously was measured as productivity. Just like we have an onboarding process, why don’t we give employees a mental health process? It could give them a mental health process along with guidelines – including information about how they could set up an ergonomic friendly workplace environment at home. They can also share information on managing one’s schedule including physical activity, free subscription to meditation apps, or workout apps. By using a digital assistant, employees can navigate


all these resources – including free counseling and telehealth solutions.

What are workplace processes that the HR agenda needs to reflect and seriously think about? Since we don’t have trained humans with the right expertise to tackle mental health issues, in the short term, digital assistants can help build awareness about mental health resources.

Since we don’t have trained humans with the right expertise to tackle mental health issues, in the short term, digital assistants can help build awareness about mental health resources In the long term, there could be apps that could nudge people – when they spend too much time in front of their screen, or they need to take a break or pay attention to their sleep cycle – and they need to exercise or meditate. We need to embrace the new challenges that employees are facing. 1. Employees need to feel supported as long as they are working remotely. So, HR needs to think about all the business processes and information that needs to be made easily available and accessible.

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What are some steps that companies can take beyond just technology-based help? At Oracle, for example, there are additional leaves that employees could avail – to enable employees to take time off when they need to support children taking classes from home or to care for COVID-19 patients, or they just feel like they need time to getaway. Companies are also offering free tutoring, child care services, and delivering office snacks home. The other thing is that employees want to feel connected, when you go to the office, you could have a casual conversation. So we’re trying to re-create these spontaneous moments by leveraging a platform called ‘Connections’ – where employees can share their hobbies and career aspirations with others in the company.

2. There’s also a need to reflect on how you can foster a sense of community. 3. Employees also want to feel a sense of career growth – so whether it’s in the form of learning or career growth, there is a need to communicate it effectively. Employees weren’t as open as they are now about mental health needs. There is a mindset shift that’s needed to address mental health issues at the workplace today. And the HR agenda needs to reflect that. december 2020 |

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2023 2022 POST

COVID-19 world of work Are You Se t for

2021 d? n o y e b d an

Here is what top leaders have to say about their learning from COVID-19 and plans for the next year

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Emma Codd

Global Inclusion Leader, Deloitte

Dr. Frederik G. Pferdt

Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist

The pandemic has been a catalyst for transformation, giving people worldwide a chance to unleash their creativity and experiment with new ways to live, learn, work, and play. Innovation is now in great demand and everyone wants to reimagine what a better world could look like.

The pandemic has brought mental health sharply into focus. While many diversity leaders/ CEOs have D&I policies in place, it is the “everyday culture” experienced by employees that will determine whether they believe that D&I is a real priority.

HR is responsible for a wide range of employee activities including creating employee experiences. The new HR embraces technology and exploits tools like big data and analytics to understand employees better.

Working from home is both feasible and productive. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of technology and taught us a lesson about agility, making us collectively realize how important it is to be willing to shift gears when necessary.

Richard R. Smith, Ph.D.

Professor, Singapore Management University

2020 has been a year like no other and it has allowed us to re-discover our own humanity and vulnerability. For human capital leaders, we have an opportunity to reflect on this and create an even better future for our organizations and our professions.

Head of Australia and APAC at Zoom

The implications of a distributed workforce are deep and wide. Every principle of management and organization that we lived by for decades is up for a re-frame. Management, leadership, and organization will now be heavily directed by technology.

Jacky Simmonds

Chief People Officer, Experian

The question of where we work in the future is a big one. The pandemic has also blurred many boundaries, from work-home to digitalpersonal to the geographical. This presents challenges, but also great opportunities to rethink what works best.

Satish Shankar Ruzbeh Irani

President - Group HR & Communications, Mahindra & Mahindra

The importance of learning was very high even before the pandemic given the constant disruption in the VUCA world. But the COVID-19 enforced pause has only emphasized the criticality of equipping our workforce. The key to cope with change is to inculcate a mindset of constant learning.

Vidisha Mehta, MD

Future of Work Leader, Asia, Willis Towers Watson

We expect to see an increasing amount of segmentation and personalization of compensation and benefits in 2021, which will allow organizations to optimize their total rewards spend while making it attractive to the employee.

Regional Managing Partner, Bain & Company, Asia-Pacific

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Michael Chetner

Author, Keynote Speaker, and Futurist

EVP & CHRO, EXL

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Jacob Morgan

Nalin Kumar Miglani

We have seen the power of remote work and virtual collaboration. There are some undeniable benefits that we should embrace. Most importantly, a more flexible hybrid model that allows employees to work from anywhere.

Clinton Wingrove

HR Futurist, Director, WantToBeGreatManager.com

We have learned how unprepared most organizations were, and still are, to manage through a severe crisis. In 2021, we should set better norms that will instill a holistically healthy, productive, and inclusive workforce into the future. december 2020 |

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COVID-19 is a catalyst for people worldwide to unleash their creativity:

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Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist

The pandemic has been a catalyst for transformation, giving people worldwide a chance to unleash their creativity and experiment with new ways to live, learn, work and play, says Dr. Frederik G. Pferdt, Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist, in an exclusive interaction with us By Mastufa Ahmed

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rederik’s passion is to develop the capacity to innovate in everyone and he believes creativity exists in all of us. He initiated a community of over 500 Google Innovation Evan-

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gelists and is Co-founder of “The Google Garage” and creator of Google’s first Innovation Laboratory (CSI:Lab), which is used by 600+ teams/year across Alphabet/Google from

YouTube, Hardware, Android to Sales and Cloud, the HR team to [x] to solve big problems creatively, generating and testing hundreds of newto-the-world ideas, fast. As an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (aka: d.school), he teaches graduate courses like: “Hacking your innovation mindset” or “Design for AI-powered futures” and feels lucky to empower students through Design Thinking so that they can invent cool things that matter in the world. He was nominated as a visiting scholar at the Center for Design Research, Stanford University and research scholar at EdLab, Columbia University where he researched the convergence of design, technology, and education. He is founding faculty of The Google School for Leaders and currently amongst the “top ten most influential Germans in Silicon Valley” (SZ, Focus) and has developed an approach to innovation culture, creative leadership, and future technology that has been used around the world by startups, schools, nonprofits, and governments as well as Fortune 500 companies plus organizations like the UN, NASA, DFB, and NBA. He got featured in over 180 articles in international newspapers, magazines, and


help educators with distance learning when schools were forced to close, and when we saw people seeking information about COVID-19, we quickly found ways to make it easier for them to search by developing helpful tools.

The pandemic will be an impetus for innovation in times to come, as many experts say. What have been the biggest lessons this pandemic brought to the fore in terms of the criticality of a culture of innovation? While creativity, innovation, and experimentation have been remarkably high in various organizations and industries, the pandemic

Everyone wanted to innovate before the pandemic, but now everyone needs to innovate. As Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist, it is exciting to see this focus on innovation everywhere

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The need for innovation has never been more relevant, and resilient organizations don’t stop innovating. Do you see a synergy in terms of how big companies are focusing on innovation? You are correct - everyone wanted to innovate before the pandemic, but now everyone needs to innovate. As Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist, it is exciting to see this focus on innovation everywhere. While the pandemic has certainly brought its challenges, it

has also been a catalyst for transformation and change, giving people and organizations worldwide a chance to unleash their creativity and experiment with new ways to live, learn, work and play. However, this requires a new mindset, and my mission is to help everyone cultivate this mindset of being an innovator. At Google, we focus on bringing our three values to life every day: respect the user, respect the opportunity, and respect each other. This guides our work, shows who we want to be as an organization and how we can be more helpful through our products. For instance, we launched Teach from Anywhere to

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documentaries like FastCompany, Inc. Magazine, Times Magazine, WirtschaftsWoche, Der Spiegel, Financial Times, Capital, Manager Magazine, brandeins, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, The Telegraph, Arte TV, VOX TV and ARD. With his award-winning approach (New Work Award), he currently serves as Innovation Consultant to the United Nations (UN), advisor to the University Innovation Fellows, and Innovation Coach of the German Soccer Association (DFB). The “Pope of Creativity” (Focus) is founder with his wife Angela of Germany’s kids maker space: “Tüftelei”. Living in Silicon Valley, he draws inspiration from the playfulness and explorer mindsets of his three children. Here are the edited excerpts.

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has also shed a light on what can be improved. We learned that we can turn these problems into opportunities for innovation. Looking at my own family as an example, my three children have quickly adopted the use of technology and now use Google Classroom and Google Meet with YouTube and Google Docs daily for school. They, like billions of students and educators worldwide, have started to make this vision of learning anywhere, anytime a reality, driving a necessary rethinking of education.

Do you think the pandemic can be a key innovation accelerator for companies that are trying to survive this crisis by focusing on short-term goals? Because it’s challenging for

When looking into the future, I see three things: The future is ambiguous, the future is approaching us fast, and the future is shaped by all of us At Google, we also see that technology has really accelerated our mission to make information accessible, useful, and helpful to as many people as possible. In developing new ideas, we are witnessing a lot of “10x thinking” at Google - a term we use to try to improve something by 10 times rather than 10 percent, which is the heart of how we innovate. Collaboration is also key to driving innovation. Even before the pandemic, Cloud technology facilitates the collaborative and team-based work that is in Google’s DNA. We encourage the

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exchange of ideas, which can lead to unexpected and innovative outcomes, like our recent Google Workspace enhancements (more details in Q5). But to establish a culture of innovation, it needs trust. And establishing this trust in an organization is something everyone needs to participate in.

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is not uncertainty, but ambiguity - a condition where the future is unclear, the past is of no help, and you often don't know what you don't know, so you learn as you go. We have to start learning to navigate that ambiguity. Second, the future is approaching us, fast. At the beginning of the year, many of us probably didn't expect that schools would take place digitally and that we would shop for almost everything online or think about vacations in a completely new way. We are seeing exponential changes, and we have to adapt to these radical shifts because the only constant moving forward is change. Third, the future is shaped by all of us. We have the opportunity to invent the future – your future, my future, our future, today. I am not in a position to give any predictions on how the future might look. Instead, my mission is to start reprogramming our way of thinking – our mindsets. Sustainable mindsets like empathy, collaboration, optimism, and even experimentation are mindsets I am practicing with people around the world to invent and try out the future, hopefully, a better future, today.

them to align leadership, wisdom, and insight --and most importantly think ahead of time? You should have a longterm vision but experiment your way forward into the future in the short-term. I would like to see more organizations beginning to envision and project their possible, desirable, and preferred futures. This means starting to invent tomorrow, today. When looking into the future, I see three things: First, the future is ambiguous. The biggest As the global economy challenge people and busireopens, how can companesses are facing right now nies harness the spirit of


innovation to re-think how they produce their own products? Can you chart a roadmap for them? Innovation is now in great demand and everyone wants to reimagine what a better world could look like. That's what I'm focusing on right now: helping Google and others with reimagining, creating visions of the future while developing the right mindsets that are necessary to invent this future.

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users and employees - and responding to these - is also critical. For instance, the pandemic has heightened both the need and urgency for rethinking how people get things done, and work is no longer being anchored to a physical place. We wanted to bring the right tools and products to make people The pandemic highsuccessful. Our product lighted a new level of development team launched urgency in terms of multinew product enhancements ple things especially the business priorities. Can you into Google Workspace - all developed while working remotely. Some of the enhancements include the Integrated Workspace, which brings together Gmail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet into a single integrated application. Internally, our employees' health and safety are priorities, so our workplace team quickly set up an Information Hub to help Googlers find information about COVID-19 with details about office closures, advice on remote working, mental health resources, and more. share some insights from the We've seen that Googlers globally have used this most impactful initiatives that worked for Google amid page 6 million times, and it continues to be the central this chaos? source of COVID-19 related At Google, we are laserinformation. focused on our mission: organize the world's inforWhat's your advice for mation and make it univerHR and talent leaders to sally accessible and useful. This mission is now more enable their teams to reimrelevant than ever. Listenagine their organization's ing to and understanding culture and the future of the challenges faced by your work? december 2020 |

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Curiosity and imagination are the starting points of innovation. It's the practice of constantly wondering why things are the way they are, looking at them from different perspectives, and questioning how they might be different. Organizational cultures that encourage curiosity and allow people to imagine can generate an abundance of new, innova-

tive ideas. This provides an environment that allows them to experiment, and move a step forward into the future. Amazing things happen when diverse people work together and build on each other's ideas and know it’s safe and included enough to take smart risks.

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and build cohesion, ultimately helping to take an organization from good to great. Leaders need to identify values to craft powerful rituals, bring them to life in new ways, build a futureready culture, and prepare themselves and the organization for a new normal.

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I would like to see more organizations beginning to envision and project their possible, desirable, and preferred futures. This means starting to invent tomorrow, today In the last months, I have been co-leading a project to reimagine work(ing) and developing the future blueprints for work(ing) for us at Google. The results are very exciting. We learned about our probable future states from our research: Work happens wherever we are, not just in the office. Automation has accelerated. Uncertainty is everywhere. The future of work focuses on people and their needs and makes the possibilities of technologies helpful. Crafting and sharing a vision - the purpose that connects the team to the future work - is now more relevant than ever. | december 2020

I also believe that empathy is one of the most needed skills of the future. Leaders must learn to understand better - yes, be able to deeply understand their employees - to offer them more suitable individual solutions for how someone would like to work. Translate your values into action, and bring your desired culture to life, use the power of rituals. Humans have innately understood that small, tangible acts done routinely can carry value and meaning for centuries. The power of rituals can be used in organizations to engender a sense of community, create togetherness in times of distance

How are you rethinking Google’s innovation culture? What are your plans for 2021 and beyond from innovation and resiliency perspective? Over the last 22 years, Google has made strides to shape a work culture that is different and unique. We continue to work hard to maintain our culture even as we work remotely. We know that for employees to stay agile and innovative, it starts by creating the right environment where they are given the resources, flexibility, and autonomy to drive change. Moving forward, we need to be innovative now more than ever, turning the big problems we face as humanity into possibilities or chances to create something better. Let’s all focus on developing more empathy and an experimental mindset together. We all need mindsets of openness and experimentation to try new things and a mindset of optimism to reimagine how we can shape a better tomorrow.


‘Everyday culture’ experienced by employees will determine employers’ stand on D&I: Deloitte's Global Inclusion Leader

her client-facing role as a Partner in the Financial Advisory practice. During this period Emma led a period of significant change for the firm from a diversity & inclusion perspective, including the firm’s award-winning approach to Respect & Inclusion - a culture change program

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mma is a Global Inclusion Leader for Deloitte, leading the development and delivery of the global inclusion strategy. From 2013 – 2019 Emma was Managing Partner for Talent for Deloitte LLP in the UK and sat on the firm’s Executive Committee, a role which she held alongside

The global health crisis is shaking up the normal ways of work and upending businesses like never before. What does it mean for businesses as they plan for the year 2021? 2021 will likely see business leaders shift from a crisis response mode to that of recovery, focusing on how their businesses can thrive in a “new normal.” This presents an opportunity to redesign some of the ways businesses have december 2020 |

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While an employer may have diversity and inclusion policies in place, it is the 'everyday culture' experienced by employees that will determine whether they believe that diversity and inclusion is a real priority, says Emma Codd, Global Inclusion Leader, Deloitte, in an exclusive interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

that underpinned all of the firm’s actions on diversity. Alongside this focus on culture, Emma devised and implemented numerous targeted interventions aimed at positively impacting from a gender, LGBT+, ethnicity, and social mobility diversity perspective. This included early voluntary gender and ethnicity pay gap reporting. Emma also led the UK firm’s approach to mental health, overseeing a period during which stigma was reduced and an array of support for those with mental ill-health was introduced. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

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While the pandemic has upended lives, it has also brought a need to work differently and to engage with employees in new ways. As companies look to the future, they have a chance to continue with those things that are working and embed them into their new normal traditionally operated, including embedding new ways of working during the pandemic that were successful in a “go-forward” model. It also presents an opportunity to redress any negative impacts on workplace gender diversity and mental health, which the pandemic has brought to the fore. The pandemic has forced many businesses to rethink how they work and deliver services as well as how they engage, develop, and support their people. It has enabled organizations to challenge entrenched norms regarding how we work. As we move into a recovery phase, it will enable organizations to continue shifting in a direction | december 2020

that aligns with the expectations of their workforces.

How are diversity heads steering their companies through the crisis globally? The pandemic has served to highlight the need for inclusive leadership in the workplace. The fast move to remote working had many companies focused on assuring they had the technology to enable it and that their people were appropriately set up for success. At Deloitte, we quickly produced guidance for our leaders on directing teams during long periods of remote working. This guidance spanned a range of elements, including encour-

aging regular check-ins and individual discussions with team members to understand their circumstances. We also provided guidance and resources for our entire remote workforce. For example, our series of regular mental health podcasts provided insights and tips for managing well-being for those feeling isolated or overwhelmed. Our recent research on working women and COVID-19, “Understanding the pandemic’s impact on working women,” highlights how the pandemic could threaten recent progress pertaining to gender equality in the workplace. The survey of nearly 400 working women across nine countries uncovered some stark findings. The majority of women surveyed shared that their lives had been negatively impacted by the pandemic, leaving nearly 70 percent of them concerned about the ability to progress in their careers. Of those who experienced shifts in their daily routines, just under two-thirds told us they now have more responsibility for household duties, this figure tripled for those assuming 75 percent or more of caregiving responsibilities.. The impact of these shifts is significant, with nearly 40 percent telling us they are unable to balance work and life commitments. Forty-six percent reported feeling a need to be


“always-on” at work, resulting in nearly half of that group saying their physical well-being has suffered as a result, and 10 percent telling us they are considering a career break or leaving the workforce entirely.

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processes. While policies and procedures are important, it is the “everyday culture” that employees experience that can undermine the impact of these policies, as it can take just one comment from a leader to undermine a policy. • Making flexible working the norm. This isn’t just about enabling remote working during the pandemic; it’s about normalizing agile work in a sustainable way for individuals and the business. Many options can be successful, including job sharing or parttime working. However, success is reliant on two things: first, that those taking advantage of working options believe they can do so without career penalty and, second, that leaders fully enable these ways of working through visible and vocal support.

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What are some of the actions organizations can take to support the continued success and progress of women in the workforce? As shown by our global survey, the pandemic has had an adverse impact on many working women. With some feeling that their mental or physical health is suffering and some even questioning whether to remain with their employers. it is clear companies could lose ground on gender diversity if they do not take steps to address these issues. Our survey asked women what their employers could do to help them to progress and what factors are making

them question whether they want to continue in their organizations. The findings reinforce that organizations need to focus on creating an inclusive culture alongside targeted interventions aimed at enabling progress to retain women in the workplace and enable success. The survey results helped us develop six clear actions for business: • Making diversity and inclusion non-negotiables in your everyday culture: Thirty percent of women who question whether they want to progress in their careers when they consider what is required cited noninclusive behaviors—such as microaggressions and exclusion from meetings and projects—as a factor. For some, these behaviors (which are frequently unintentional) can seem “too small” to raise through formal reporting

The majority of women surveyed in a Deloitte research told us that their lives had been negatively impacted by the pandemic, resulting in nearly 70 percent of them concerned about their ability to progress in their careers december 2020 |

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• Leading with empathy and trust. As the pandemic highlights, it is more important than ever that leaders are engaging in open and supportive conversations with their teams and that they are approachable and ready to listen. Our survey identified 44 percent of women would like regular and deliberate check-ins with their leaders. • Providing networking, mentorship, and sponsorship opportunities. With nearly 50 percent of women surveyed saying this would be beneficial to their careers, each of these elements is critical. However, these opportunities should be presented in ways that ensure all employees can participate (i.e. a “breakfast networking event,” can exclude those who have early-morning caregiving responsibilities). • Creating learning opportunities that align with employees’ daily lives. While many of the women surveyed said they are keen to progress in their careers, several also said they were struggling to balance work and home commitments. This can result in personal development opportunities being side-lined. Creative “on-demand” approaches to learning can enable all employees to access the | december 2020

The pandemic has led to an inflection point when it comes to the way we work. It has highlighted a need to determine the “new normal,” and it is incumbent upon us as leaders to make sure that the new normal prioritizes diversity and inclusion development support they need in flexible, practical ways. • Ensuring that reward, succession, and promotion processes address unconscious bias. While structuring reward and promotion processes to address the risk of unconscious bias has always been important, the pandemic has added to the need for many organizations to look at contribution differently, including in the context of remote working and unavoidable commitments outside work.

Do you think we will see the emergence of new online training programs that can successfully train large numbers of workers in the skills they will need to perform the jobs of the future? Reskilling and upskilling workers will play an

increasingly essential role in the future. Even amid a pandemic, we learned from our recent survey that 40 percent of women wanted more learning and development opportunities, interesting projects, and/or “stretch” assignments. The appetite to continue learning is there, even under these stressful times. However, respondents also told us that work/life balance is currently a challenge, which could mean that training and development is pushed to the back of a long “to do” list. Thus, upskilling and development needs to be offered in innovative ways that enable all employees to access it on-demand where possible.

How can companies build a culture of belonging and make everyone feel comfortable, empowered, and heard? Isn’t it challenging at a time like this? While an employer may have diversity and inclusion policies in place, it is the “everyday culture” experienced by employees that will determine whether they believe that diversity and inclusion is a real priority. That’s why at Deloitte we deliberately focus on our culture as a foundation for our inclusion approach, with our shared value of “fostering inclusion” reflected in the everyday experiences of our people.


are most needed. As our 2020 Millennial Survey shows, a large part of the workforce feels stressed and anxious and – while some believe that stress and anxiety is a valid reason to take time off work – others don’t feel comfortable sharing the true reason. The pandemic has led to an inflection point when it comes to the way we work. It has highlighted a need to determine the “new normal,” and it is incumbent upon us as leaders to make sure that the new normal prioritizes diversity and inclusion.

What’s your take on leadership especially at a time like this and how can they

make ethical and diversitycentered decisions? Inclusive leadership is critically important at a time like this. Remote working and constant uncertainty have impacted people in different ways – from isolation to feeling constantly overwhelmed. Leaders must take the time to listen and understand – to instill a sense of belonging and to provide the support that is needed. At times of crisis, it is easy for “people-focused” priorities to be set aside. However, it is during these times when these priorities

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It is this everyday culture that will enable a feeling of belonging and will engender trust; it will enable our people to bring their whole selves to work and perform their best. This means an environment where our people understand the adverse impact of microaggressions and non-inclusive behavior – and where anyone feels comfortable raising issues with the assurance that they will not suffer career penalties.

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Mental health needs to continue to be a priority for businesses as we now recognize the role of employers in helping to address it

What is one thing that you have learned from this pandemic and why is it important? While I have long been an advocate for prioritizing mental health in the workplace, the pandemic has brought this onto the agenda of many leaders. The visibility of this issue should be a positive step towards addressing mental health concerns in the workplace, but we need to remember that mental health was an issue long before the pandemic, with a staggering number of millennials and Gen Zs telling us in our 2020 Millennial Survey (pre-pandemic) that they felt stressed and anxious most or all of the time. Mental health needs to continue to be a priority for businesses as we now recognize the role of employers in helping to address it.

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Evolution of HR: From filling gaps in jobs to unlocking human potential

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HR is at a pivotal crossroads; it has never been more crucial than it is now By Jacob Morgan

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hat used to be viewed by many as one of the least exciting areas of an organization is now one of the most dynamic places to work. Human resources is evolving into more than just hiring and firing to having a huge impact on the employee experience and the future of work. Change is happening at a rapid pace and many are not able to keep up. A few years ago I interviewed two top executives at global billion-dollar organizations. Recently, one of these executives was fired and another one saw her business go bankrupt. This happened because these leaders were not able to adapt to the new world of work. HR is at a pivotal crossroads, it has never been more | december 2020

Today, HR is responsible for a wide range of employee activities, most of which center around enabling, engaging, and empowering employees. HR workers are the major players in creating employee experiences, which works with an organization’s culture and growth crucial than it is now, but at the same time, never before have we needed HR to not think, act, and be like traditional HR. I challenge all leaders in this space to move away from thinking they are in Human Resources to embracing that they are now in Human Transformation.

There are some of the crucial areas where HR is evolving From hiring and firing to enabling, empowering, and creating experiences

It used to be that HR was just the place you went to get hired or fired, but those days are long gone. Today, HR is responsible for a wide range of employee activities, most of which center around enabling, engaging, and empowering employees. HR workers are the major players in creating employee experiences, which works with an organization’s culture and growth and ensures that employees feel valued and supported along every step of their work-


place journey. As a result of COVID-19, the importance of this has increased 10x!

From not defining strategy to shaping & leading strategy It used to be that HR just did

From no seat at the table to a key seat at the table Today, HR is evolving into a more central role in the organization where it has a key seat at the decisionmaking table. Many C-level executives come from HR backgrounds and work directly with the department to make sure its needs are met. HR is more involved than ever with other departments and often has its

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From maintaining status quo to destroying status quo HR was long thought of as the department that kept the organization humming along and that was resistant to change. If you wanted to try something new, create a new program, or change your work schedule, it would likely get held up in HR. Now, however, HR is often responsible for obliterating the status quo to keep the organization moving forward. Instead of holding things back, HR is the driving force in building a cohesive work environment where employees are happy and growth can happen.

From not technologically advanced to relying heavily on technology The new HR embraces technology to expand its role. Using new tools like big data and analytics, HR can better understand employees and make more strategic decisions, as opposed to the old role of using emotion and tradition to make decisions. Internal data is available on just about everything, from how employees are performing to how often they visit certain areas of the office. HR representatives use this data to find trends and create the best possible strategy and employee environment. However, HR leaders need to make sure not to go overboard with technology.

as it was told and didn’t have much impact on the overall strategy of the organization. Today, human resources employees help shape and lead strategy, especially as organizations realize the impact employee experience can have on growth and revenue. Fulfilled and happy employees play a huge role in the overall success of an organization, which means HR now helps shape and lead the overall strategy of the company.

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From the “police� of the organization to the coaches, mentors, & thought leaders Instead of being the people within the organization who enforce the rules, HR representatives are now thought of as mentors and thought leaders. Employees used to be scared of interacting with HR employees for fear that they would get in trouble for doing something wrong, but today that mentality has shifted towards viewing HR employees as the people to go to with suggestions or feedback on how to improve employee experience and to gain insights into how to better their career.

Again, this has never been more evident than today.

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hands in many baskets through the company.

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From payroll, compensation, and benefits to employee experience HR now does much more than just work through payroll and compensation. Instead of focusing on the basic needs of employees, it focuses on building a great experience where employees want to come to the office and do their best work. With a great corporate culture, employees show up to work for more than just the paycheck, which means HR also has to work on more than just payroll. The CHRO of Unilever, Leena Nair, once told me that she spends only 20 percent of her time on traditional HR and 80 percent of her time focused on transformation. From cost-center to profitenabling center In many cases, the change in HR’s role within an organization is due to executives realizing its profit-creating potential. The old HR was often considered to be a cost center, but by driving strategy and employee experience, the new HR provides the opportunity to create profits and growth. This has helped the HR department get a larger budget because executives can see that investing in HR leads to stronger employees, a better workplace experience, and often to higher prof| december 2020

The new HR embraces technology to expand its role. Using new tools like big data and analytics, HR can better understand employees and make more strategic decisions its. In many organizations around the world, it was the HR teams that helped keep things together during COVID-19.

From a clearly defined workforce to a dynamic and changing workforce The workforce is changing right alongside HR, and the department has to be ready to meet those changes. As the workforce changes, so too does HR’s approach to employee experience. More employees are also working in HR to gain experience they can use in other areas, which means the department is constantly getting new points of view, which it can use to create a more cohesive work environment. From focusing on employee inputs to focusing on employee outputs As HR evolves, it is having more interaction with employees and playing a larger role in the day-today activities and responsibilities of workers. Instead of focusing on employee inputs and what it takes to

get the job done, HR today is more focused on employee outputs and how it can encourage employees to do their best work possible.

From treating employees like “resources” to treating employees like water and air Employees are now viewed less as expendable resources and more as vital parts of the organization. Instead of assuming that people NEED to work at your organization, we need to shift towards creating an environment where employees WANT to work at your organization. This is a 180-degree shift in how we think about employees. What HR does now depends on what employees want and care about and is tailored to their needs. From performance appraisals to real-time recognition and feedback with employee check-ins HR is now more involved in the everyday employee experience than ever before. Much of this comes from real-time employee feedback with regular checkins instead of the old way of annual performance reviews or engagement surveys. With more applicable feedback, HR hopes to create a dialogue with employees where they feel comfortable hearing ways to improve and are open to


making suggestions of their own.

From siloed from lines of business to working closely to understand business needs

From multi-year project design and roll-outs to fast design, implementation, and iteration The new approach helps HR quickly design and implement new programs and ideas and stay ahead of workplace trends. Technology is changing things quickly, and HR no longer has the luxury to sit back and create perfectly formulated plans. Instead, the department must act

From human resource job titles to people, talent, and experience titles Many companies have moved from traditional HR titles like Chief Human Resources Officer to Chief Experience Officer or Talent Manager. New titles show the expanded scope of HR and how it is involved in many more areas of employee experience. However, it’s important to remember that the evolution of HR is not just a job title change, it’s a mindset and skillset change. Now is the time for HR to evolve. There is a tremendous opportunity and potential for the leaders out there who are willing to move away from Human Resources to focus on Human Transformation. I’m extremely optimistic about HR and the future of work!

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From a “one size fits all” model across the organization to “one size breaks all” approach The evolving HR department no longer applies a one-sizefits-all solution to the organization and instead uses a one-size-breaks-all approach. HR now realizes that each department and employee is different and that a different approach needs to be taken to meet individual needs. This is often implemented by spending time with individual employees and departments to find how HR can best support them and drive their strategies.

quickly to put plans into action while they are still relevant. The result is an agile department that has to stay close to employee sentiment and trends to build an environment that reflects the current needs of the organization.

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From filling gaps in jobs to unlocking human potential In many cases, HR is now focused on making sure employees get the professional development skills they need to better their careers. Instead of simply plugging employees into positions in the organization, HR works with people to find their best skills, unlock and develop talents that might be below the surface, and shape a position in the organization that meets their skills and interests.

HR used to work in its own corner of the office without much interaction with other departments. The result was often a siloed organization filled with red tape if other departments ever had to collaborate with HR. As things evolve, HR has begun working closely with other departments to best meet their needs. There is often a lot of overlap between HR and other departments, and open communication and good working relationships make it easier to join together for great results.

Learn more about the skills & mindsets for the future of work, in this PDF based on 140 CEO interviews: TheLeadershipDigest.com. Jacob is also the bestselling author of the new book, The Future Leader and you can connect with him at TheFutureOrganization.com. december 2020 |

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Adaptability, as a skill, will be the most valued going forward: Ruzbeh Irani

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In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Ruzbeh Irani, President - Group Human Resources & Communications; Member of the Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd shares some insights on the new paradigms that COVID-19 has pushed into the spotlight, and how the new world of work would be all about adapting to change and having a learning mindset By Yasmin Taj

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hen 2020 started, never had we imagined that this year will turn out to be the turning point for everything we knew about work. The COVID-19 pandemic has entirely transformed how we looked at work, the workplace, and the workers. Business strategies had to be changed overnight and simultaneously, people strategies too went through an overhaul. In short, it can be rightly said that 2020 has been the most defining year of the century for the world of work. In order to understand how the pandemic has led to organizations redefining their HR and people strategies and has made them realize the criticality of equipping the workforce with new skills, we spoke to Ruzbeh Irani, President - Group Human Resources | december 2020

The importance of learning and re-skilling was very high even before the pandemic given the constant disruption in the VUCA world. But the COVID-19 enforced pause has only emphasized the criticality of equipping our workforce with new skills & Communications; Member of the Group Executive Board, M&M Ltd. In this exclusive interview, he shares his views on the new workplace learning paradigms that COVID-19 has pushed into the spotlight, how can organizations upskill their workforce at this scale and make them future-ready, and how can business leaders and HR teams work together to create a high-impact learning culture in their organizations. Ruzbeh joined the Mahindra Group in 2007 as Executive Vice President – Corporate Strategy, heading the Group's Strategy function.

He became the Chief Brand Officer of the Group and during that time, he spearheaded Mahindra's entry into racing, and led the development of the Group's brand position and core purpose, 'Rise'. He then moved to head International Operations for the Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors of M&M. Subsequently, he led Group Corporate Brand, PR, and Communications, Ethics as well as Mahindra’s Racing team. In April 2020, Ruzbeh took over as President – Group Human Resources & Communications. He is now also responsible for Corporate


The pandemic has brought learning & development to the forefront and has opened a plethora of new-age learning opportunities, not only for the employ-

ees but also for organizations. How do you see the larger picture of L&D and skilling initiatives across organizations? The importance of learning and re-skilling was very high even before the pandemic given the constant disruption in the VUCA world. But the COVID-19 enforced pause has only emphasized the criticality of equipping our workforce with new skills. The future of work will be different, and I believe that this crisis has provided us with the opportunity to look at the learning needs holistically. The new-age platforms that businesses have had to adopt amid the pandemic will only accelerate this trend thanks to their on-the-go, anytime, anywhere accessibility. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re-skilling and upskilling. How can organizations upskill their workforce at this scale and make them future-ready? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that we simply cannot foresee what skills our workforces may need to be equipped with 10, 15 or 20 years from now. The nature of work is changing dramatically. The key to december 2020 |

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What are the new workplace learning paradigms

that COVID-19 has pushed into the spotlight? The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the dependence on technology. As a result, like other business processes, including learning and development has also shifted to a virtual sphere. Learning has become flexible, convenient, and accessible anytime and anywhere, which our employees have benefitted from over the last six months. Self-paced and need-based learning has come to the forefront. To this end, we have converted several of our flagship programs to virtual-led models in no time.

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Social Responsibility, Ethics, and Corporate Services. He is a member of Mahindra’s Group Executive Board. Ruzbeh completed his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Bombay University in 1983. He went on to receive his Masters in Management Studies from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, and is an alumnus of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. Post his Master's degree, Ruzbeh worked with Hindustan Lever and Unilever for close to 22 years, across geographies, in marketing, customer management, and general management. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

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coping with so much change is to inculcate a mindset of constant learning in your employees. In today’s fastchanging world, adaptability is a key skill that will be the most valued going forward.

Given that the majority of workers are now working remotely, employees and leaders must focus on their skilling initiatives. What are some of the skills that will play a critical role for businesses to succeed and thrive in a remote work environment? The following skills across two dimensions will emerge as critical capabilities for senior leaders. Conceptual Skills: • Digital Literacy • Strategic Thinking • Decision making in complex situations • Business re-modeling Social Skills: • Redefining trust • Building resilience • Ability to engage diverse workforce • Agility • Compassionate and inclusive leadership • Listening, Empathetic communication

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There is a significant cultural shift that organizations are facing after the crisis. How can business leaders and HR teams work together to create a high| december 2020

The key to cope with so much change is to inculcate a mindset of constant learning in your employees. In today’s fastchanging world, adaptability is a key skill which will be the most valued going forward impact learning culture in their organizations? At Mahindra, our culture is guided by our “Rise” philosophy: accepting no limits, alternative thinking, and driving positive change. It has been our endeavor to embed deep learning culture at Mahindra by mapping the career aspiration of our employees with talent development. The three pillars of Rise make us look at our business and roles very differently. That coupled with the contemporary solutions provided by the Mahindra Leadership University, sets our workforce up for

relevant and targeted learning opportunities. It makes us challenge conventions and think about the impact we are creating for our workforce. The biggest challenge is to enable employees to balance core work and personal needs and make time for learning and development. For us, engagement and value focus are the key when it comes to providing learning opportunities. We are not about the number of courses, but the quality, diversity, and value of courses made available to each Mahindra-ite and that’s what sets us apart.

What are some key upskilling and reskilling initiatives that you have implemented in your organization? Skilling goes hand-inhand with the needs of the industry. Hence, we don’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to skilling and the development of talent. Guided by our Rise philosophy in tandem with the behavior traits, career aspirations, and the industry needs, we scientifically define skilling opportunities for our talent. Some of the broad areas of focus include: digital skills – AI, data sciences, machine learning, etc.; problem-solving; technical skills; and innovation orientation.


We are looking at how we can better prepare our organization to seize global opportunities quickly: Experian's Chief People Officer

tive remuneration, reward strategy, succession planning, talent management, and organizational design. She was formerly Chief People Officer for VEON, a global connectivity, and digital services provider listed on Nasdaq and Euronext, and has also held the role of Chief HR Officer for easyJet plc and TUI Travel Group. Here are the edited excerpts.

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acky Simmonds joined Experian in July 2020 as Chief People Officer and immediately set about preparing for the changes and global opportunities that will follow the pandemic. Here, she shares some of her observations from 2020 and plans for 2021. At Experian, Jacky is responsible for the Global HR Strategy across the Group including Board and execu-

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The pandemic has blurred many boundaries, from work-home to digital-personal to the geographical. This presents challenges, but also great opportunities to rethink what works best, says Jacky Simmonds, Chief People Officer of Experian By Mastufa Ahmed

What key trends do you think will accelerate in the long term in terms of work? What gaps have COVID-19 brought to the fore? Digital transformation has been hugely accelerated by necessity. This is a journey we were already heavily invested in but, for obvious reasons, we’ve needed to find new ways to do things. Things like video conferencing have just become the norm and before, it may have been unthinkable that you would offer someone a job without having physically met them! Clearly, the question of where we work in the future is a big one. Home has become the workplace for most of our people over the past few months. We’ve been so proud of how everyone has adapted and enabled us to come through the pandemic, and we know that people have appreciated and benefited from the additional flexibility working remotely has given them—especially where people have had long commutes to the office. As we look to the future, we’re excited to re-open offices but we believe the december 2020 |

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purpose they serve will be quite different; a place to collaborate, to connect, and to socialize as well as a place to work. This will give people more choice and ultimately, work location will be a blend of home and office, designed to work well for our people as well as our business.

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How do you see the larger HR landscape evolving in 2021? How should talent leaders reimagine workforce management? I think the game has changed in so many areas

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now becomes much broader with less reliance on offices so we think more in terms of the skills and capabilities we need, which could be applied globally. I also see companies playing a much larger role in the physical and mental health of their people than we have previously experienced.

A lot of firms are talking about how they enhanced employee productivity and engagement amid this crisis. How are you ensuring this?

In the past when we have thought about the workforce, we have tended to think in terms of our geographies; the talent available in that market. The view now becomes much broader with less reliance on offices, so we think more in terms of the skills and capabilities we need that most leaders, like myself, will be engaged in adapting to it. We have to answer big questions like how different ways of working might affect culture and how we should maximize the benefits and mitigate the challenges. Then we have to consider more tactical realities like how employee benefits, recruitment processes, and workforce planning are impacted. In the past when we have thought about the workforce, we have tended to think in terms of our geographies; the talent available in that market. The view | december 2020

We’ve experienced this too. Measures of employee productivity have increased through COVID and our people have reported feeling more productive—in part due to lack of commute, giving them more time to work and spend with families as well. While we are obviously pleased by the increased productivity, we’re aware that in some cases, that’s coming from people struggling to switch off and delineate their work and home lives, so we’re working to help our people find ways to manage this better over

the long term. In terms of engagement, we are seeing increases in this too and we’ve pinned that down to two things. Firstly, our commitment to put people first through the pandemic has made them feel truly valued. Secondly, our efforts to do our part to help individuals, companies and even governments navigate through the crisis has given people a sense of pride in being part of a company that is focused on doing good in their communities and in the world more broadly.

What role are top leaders playing in boosting the employee experience at their workplace? What is Experian doing differently to enhance the employee experience for their virtual workforce? Leaders and managers are, of course, critical in this. A company may set the tone, but people’s experiences are lived through their day to day interactions and that is largely defined by managers. We’re running a new program aimed at equipping our managers to maintain our fantastic culture, ensure high performance and also, really importantly, to keep themselves strong through the current situation. We are also listening keenly to our people—we have increased the frequency of our ‘checkins’ with our people through


these virtually we have been able to make these much broader. We ran our first ever global Hackathon with 1,000 of our people participating in cross-regional teams and given we know that diverse perspectives lead to better outcomes, this was a huge win. We are currently running a larger portfolio of new innovation projects than we were prepandemic.

What would be your key priorities in 2021 as a talent leader? We will be continuing our focus on building the skills we need to ensure our ongoing growth and success—we’ve got some big ambitions as a company and we need world-class talent

on our side to achieve them. We are also looking at how we can better prepare our organization to seize global opportunities quickly; with offices in 45 countries, we are well-placed to do this. We will also be focused on continuing to make Experian a great place for our employees to work but also to learn and to grow their careers.

What's one lesson you have learned from this pandemic? People are much more adaptable than we often give them credit for. If you have great people on your side, even when you are thrown a huge curveball you can come through it not only OK but stronger! december 2020 |

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The pandemic will be an impetus for innovation in times to come, as many experts say. What have been the biggest lessons this pandemic has highlighted in terms of the culture of innovation? The pandemic has forced innovation in terms of solving problems that were created by having to work differently, but we have also seen innovation increase in unexpected ways. We run Hackathons quite regularly where employees get together to generate new ideas and solutions. These are often done by co-located people physically getting together—but in taking

The pandemic has forced innovation in terms of solving problems that were created by having to work differently, but we have also seen innovation increase in unexpected ways

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regular pulse surveys; it’s so important that we stay firmly tuned in to what our people are thinking about the big questions and what they need from us to be well in themselves and to work effectively. We’ve focused keenly on our people’s mental health and have run an array of group mindfulness and yoga sessions and even virtual escape rooms to keep the fun in place. We’ve also found ways to replicate some of the unintended benefits of the office that we were missing, such as ‘Connect 4’ which organizes for 4 randomly selected colleagues to meet virtually; re-creating the random encounters you may make in the office, such as at the coffee machine.

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The implications of ‘distributed workforce’ will be deep and wide: EXL's CHRO Nalin Miglani

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People will always be the force of value-creation and this will not change. No HR or another leader can afford to forget that, says Nalin Kumar Miglani, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resource Officer, EXL By Mastufa Ahmed

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alin Miglani is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer. He is responsible for building a market-leading, clientcentric workforce, growing and nurturing talent on a global scale. He was most recently the Chief HR and Corporate Development Officer for Nutreco, a $5 billion global leader in animal and fish nutrition, where he led the creation of a comprehensive framework for strategic execution and a new rewards strategy, among other initiatives. Nalin also served as the Chief HR and Communication officer for the $1.5 billion Tata Global Beverages Company, where he focused on organizational design and cultural transformation. He also held various global and regional HR leadership roles around the world dur| december 2020

Communication and collaboration technologies have the potential to transform how work is done. This will have a clear impact on how urban centers are organized and how individuals live their daily lives. All of this is up for a real change ing a 10-year career at The Coca-Cola Company. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

What does the COVID-19 triggered ‘big reset’ mean for you? Is it about the increased focus on agility, adaptability, and sustainability of businesses? The “big reset" is about organization of work. A distributed workforce replaces an aggregated

workforce. This distribution is an outcome of the de-coupling of location from work. People at work vs People in office. Post-COVID-19, the distribution of the workforce has gone mainstream. The implications are deep and wide. Every principle of management and organization that we lived by for decades is up for a complete re-frame. Management, leadership, and organization will now


be heavily directed by technology and data.

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How do you see the larger HR landscape evolve in 2021 and how should talent leaders reimagine workforce management in 2021? As HR leaders re-imagine

workforce management in 2021 and beyond, they may want to learn to be successful with these four trends: The “Platformization of HR”. HR will be less about “walking the floors” and more about delivering leadership, services, engagement, and capability development through digital channels. All these channels will need to a: be inter-connected at the front end and b: have the power to deploy smart analytics on the data that these channels provide. To work in a platformized HR function, HR leaders’ “listening skills” will have to migrate from individual voices and corridor conversations to analyzing aggregated data and ‘listening’ to patterns of feedback. HR leaders will need to learn “product development” principles to ensure that their digital applications follow the principles of great user experience and reflect the character of the leadership team.

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COVID-19 seems to be accelerating digital transformation in the workplace across industries. Do you see a new tech infrastructure in the making that will help economies rebound after COVID-19? A new tech infrastructure that will reshape the workplace is certainly in the making. And, yes, it will help economies rebound into a different era of value creation. I would not like to call it the much-awaited arrival of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, because there will be very little “industrial” about the new world. But, “revolution” is somewhat accurate. Communication and collaboration technologies have the potential to transform how work is done. This will

have a clear impact on how urban centers are organized and how individuals live their daily life. All of this is up for a real change. The impact on the economy will be positive because work will reach the best talent at the right price. Economic inefficiencies created by congested urban workplaces will be mitigated. New companies that attempt to influence this change will bring innovation and greater value creation. People, “free to work in their own space”, will be more productive and fulfilled when each day is not lived under the shadow of strong hierarchies of management.

HR leaders will need to learn “product development” principles to ensure that their digital applications follow the principles of great user experience and reflect the character of the leadership team december 2020 |

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And, finally, new COEs such as Data & Analytics and User Experience will make their way into HR organizations.

Boundaries of time zones are broken. Contribution is real-time and transparent. Visually appealing and tactile user interface encourages high engagement.

Can you throw some lights on how top organizations are leveraging HR tech – people analytics, talent acquisition tech, RPA, and blockchain?

Communication: Leaders can “accessorize” their communication. They can build true followership based on content and appeal – not just on the level. Feedback is

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“AT EXL, WE are pursuing an unequivocal digital agenda. We are shifting HR’s focus from processes to experiences. We are migrating from lifecycles to experiences”

As we all know, HR tech is one of the fastest areas of entrepreneurial growth. There are several examples of how tech is being leveraged. Capability Development: Tech is expanding sources of learning, making it available on tap, location agnostic and above all, enabling the learner to contribute to the creation of knowledge and not just be a consumer. Collaboration: Is a big winner of digital tech. 88

Where do you see this manmachine equation in the near future? Economic growth only happens when there is productivity growth. Almost always, productivity growth is enabled by technology. And, inevitably, technological advancement leads to the re-arrangement of the value of different skills in the market. This re-arrange-

| december 2020

quick and clear. And, it is all multi-media! While there are many applications, the current winner is platform-based tech that seamlessly integrates communication, collaboration, and integrated data management. And wait for VR. It will be mainstream before you know it.

With the increasing role of tech innovations, do you think firms may consider the outright replacement of workers with technology?

ment leads to old jobs losing relevance and new jobs becoming lucrative. This model of “creative destruction” has powered economic growth for more than a century. It will be no different this time. Across all change, people will always be the force of value-creation. This will not change. No HR or another leader can afford to forget that.

As a digitally-led company, what is EXL doing differently to enhance the employee experience for their global virtual workforce?


Build Tech-enabled leadership: Where leaders can communicate, inspire, collaborate, and perform through digital media. Build Product Development skills: Where HR lead-

ers can design applications that create value in a distributed workforce through great user experience and smart analytics. Learn from other models of engagement with distributed populations: Retail Banking and Digital Marketing offer valuable lessons. Support the distributed workforce in their transition into a new world through sensitive engagement with them on the changing patterns of personal space and workspace.

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What would be your key priorities in 2021 as a global talent leader? My key priorities would be to:

Our big wins have been in Capability Development, Communication, and HR Operations. We have created an eco-system that achieves learning, contribution, and collaboration goals at the same time.

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At EXL we are pursuing an unequivocal digital agenda. We are shifting HR’s focus from processes to experiences. We are migrating from lifecycles to experiences. Our big wins have been in Capability Development, Communication, and HR Operations. We have created an eco-system that achieves learning, contribution, and collaboration goals at the same time. Leadership communication and engagement has migrated to a multimedia strategy for a long time now. This helped us stay connected and perform when our workforce became distributed. Our HR operations are well on the way to creating individualized experiences in on-boarding, engagement, and other areas. In doing the above, we are leveraging platform technologies, cloud-based data management, interactive robots, social media tech, collaboration tech, and multi-media communication channels.

One key learning for you from this crisis and why is this important? The opposite is true of every fear that we have. For example, collaboration will improve with technology – not the other way around. Building a culture, with the help of technology, can be more authentic and, therefore, sustainable. Greater autonomy and trust will lead to higher productivity, not less. A distributed workforce is here to stay. For the good of everyone. december 2020 |

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We see an acceleration of technology deployment plans across organizations: Vidisha Mehta, WTW

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As a result of accelerating trends such as flexible working and virtualization of work, business leaders are now faced with several challenges including ensuring technology infrastructure, organizational processes, and work-life balance, says Vidisha Mehta of Willis Towers Watson, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

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idisha Mehta is Managing Director at Willis Towers Watson’s Talent and Rewards Business in Singapore. Her role encompasses building client relationships and providing advice across areas of organization transformation including design and performance, change management, leadership development, and talent management. She has over 15 years of experience in consulting and corporate roles across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and is a trusted advisor to enterprises, governments, and non-profit organizations.

What are the key COVIDtriggered trends that you think will accelerate in the long term in the context of work, workplace, and workforce? | december 2020

One of the most prominent trends has been the rise of remote and flexible working. While flexible work practices have been around for a long time, they did not gain traction due to several reasons. Most organizations were forced to shift almost overnight to enable remote working during the pandemic. In the beginning, this was to keep operations running and employees safe. However, a Willis Towers Watson’s (WTW) study in April shows that almost two-thirds of the over 500 organizations that participated were rethinking flexible work arrangements and the purpose of the workplace. We are seeing this trend strengthening as a second wave of the pandemic rises with a number of countries going into new lockdowns again.

A related trend to this remote working is on “virtualization” of work. Organizations are accelerating their technology deployment plans to ensure that processes are more digital in nature, and hence can be carried out remotely. Another key trend we seeing is around the need for companies to respond with agility, such as in workforce redeployment and aided by rapid upskilling or reskilling. Similar to flexible work, the need for upskilling has been discussed in the past for a few years now. As the pandemic created asymmetric demand and supply of workers, organizations needed to rapidly move people from low demand areas (e.g. in hospitality, airlines, physical retail business) to high demand areas like healthcare support and e-commerce.


• Work-life balance – One of the drawbacks of the flexibility of remote working is the disappearance of boundaries between the workplace and home. At the same time, employees are also anxious and insecure about their jobs, so they want to show that they are working. Very often, this leads to back-toback video calls throughout the day and often late into the evening, beyond their working hours.

Furthermore, many people do not have dedicated workspaces in their homes and this can lead to physiological issues. A WTW survey examining the business impact of COVID-19 on benefits found that one-third of the employers in Asia Pacific believe that COVID19 will have a moderate to large negative impact on employee well-being.

There are many questions when it comes to envisioning the future impact and role of HR post-COVID-19. With the new normal shaping the future of HR, do you think HR will matter now more than ever as we come out of this crisis? HR is in a unique position to make a strategic impact on businesses. As a result of the pandemic and crisis, there is an increased focus on the future of work. As companies move through various stages of managing the crisis to restoring stability, their HR leaders are increasingly thinking about making their operations more sustainable. The HR function will play a key role in decisions related to responsible automation, helping business stakeholders deliver work through optimal humanmachine combinations. Jobs will continue to be redesigned, not only for flexibility but also to deliver higher value, as transacdecember 2020 |

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• Organizational processes and culture – Some organizations lack clarity on goals. This has led to challenges with performance assessment.

Leadership mindset and culture may not support the future of remote work. The lack of trust by managers in their employees means that managers still want to see their people in front of them working. This culture of ‘face time’ will lead to virtual presenteeism and can result in problems for managers.

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As a result of these accelerating trends, business leaders are now faced with these three challenges: • Technology infrastructure – Most organizations struggled with providing remote and secure access to company systems, as well as hardware. Security systems needed to be upgraded urgently as more people accessed systems remotely, and in many cases, organizations had to send desktop computers which were loaded with company software to employees’ houses. In addition, Internet connectivity across different countries in Asia Pacific is hugely varied.

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tional tasks get automated increasingly. This will drive the need for continuous upskilling or reskilling of the workforce which HR will need to drive. As remote work continues and changes take place on the way work being done, HR professionals are in the driving seat to build a purposedriven culture in organizations with a high quality of employee experience. All these expectations mean that HR will play a more strategic role, partnering with business stakeholders to find solutions to these areas. To

HR, being in a unique position to make a strategic impact on businesses, will play a key role in decisions related to responsible automation, helping business stakeholders deliver work through optimal human-machine combinations ensure they have the capacity to focus on these, HR professionals will need to ensure that they drive automation of routine service delivery within HR and upskill themselves to deliver the higher value-added work.

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We recently concluded a study on the impact of technology on the HR sector in Singapore, analyzing 27 HR jobs that will be impacted. From the study, we have also identified new jobs, both specialized as well as crossfunctional in nature, that will emerge as technology enhances existing HR tasks and jobs. These include roles such as Learning designers – who combine UX/UI design with instructional design to develop immersive learning journeys for employees; HR technology specialist roles who will

Which jobs do you think will be compelling in the near future? This is indeed an exciting time in HR. As technology use becomes more widespread in the function, it is resulting in new work and jobs being created. | december 2020

focus on developing the technology and data architecture for various HR service delivery processes. Another exciting role that will also emerge is the Cultural Ambassador, who collaborates with business leaders to influence, develop and embed the organization’s culture, and supports the implementation of initiatives to enable culture change in the workplace. These jobs bring the human elements of work together with sophisticated technology-enabled service delivery

to provide consumer-grade HR applications and services, and to build a compelling employee experience in an organization.

Employers faced with many total rewards challenges in COVID-19 aftermath. How do you think compensation and benefits programs will evolve in 2021? Is it going to be focused on skill-based rather than traditional performancebased? Organizations have been trying out skills-based pay for a few years now. We see this trend increasing as work becomes better codified. However, as a result of the pandemic, performance reviews have also changed. Organizations are realizing the challenges of managing performance management that relied on “face- time”. As a result, there is increasing pressure, to set clear outcome-driven goals so that employees can be reviewed against these objectively, which can then be fed into compensation decisions. We are also seeing how organizations across Asia Pacific are beginning to explore flexible rewards mechanism in addition to flexible benefits. We expect to see an increasing amount of segmentation and personalization of compensation and benefits in 2021, which will allow organizations to optimize their total rewards


open and hungry for these new opportunities.

Josh Bersin says, ‘COVID19 may be the best thing that ever happened to employee engagement'. Can you share three tips on how can organizations plan to ensure productivity and engagement? 1. Review work design – COVID-19 has accelerated

many organizations’ automation plans and transactional activities will continue to be increasingly automated. It is critical to review work – at a task and job level, to find opportunities to make jobs more value-added. 2. Focus on continuous reskilling – The pandemic has highlighted the need for employees to upskill and this is even more urgent now, through the disproportionate impact on certain types of work. Organizations need to develop a concrete plan to help upskill employees to meet the new requirements of their jobs. Employees need to be

One lesson you have learned from this pandemic and why it matters? Do you see any big opportunity that businesses should seize in 2021? Several opportunities have surfaced through the pandemic at an organization as well as individual level. One of the most critical lessons for organizations is the review of business processes to identify ideal human-machine combinations for service delivery. Not only would this bring cost efficiencies, but it would also free up the working capacity of employees to do work that will add more value to the organization. december 2020 |

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spend while making it attractive to the employee. For instance, some companies have introduced employee subsidies to help their employees manage the cost of working remotely. These include cash allowances for the purchase of home office equipment to support work from home arrangements such as monitors and chairs.

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We expect to see an increasing amount of segmentation and personalization of compensation and benefits in 2021, which will allow organizations to optimize their total rewards spend while making it attractive to the employee

3. Continuous listening and feedback mechanisms – As work becomes more distributed, it is critical to have a deliberate plan and activities to ensure that employee programs and initiatives are relevant. Organizations are increasingly mapping the employee’s journey, identifying moments that matter, and making sure they have specific programs and interventions that define the employee experience at these moments. Continuous listening tools also help organizations improve this employee experience on an ongoing basis.

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Organizations should never waste a crisis: Satish Shankar

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2020 has driven HR teams to exert their full capabilities, often with truly impressive results. Moving forward, it is this crisis-fueled evolution that will bring organizations into the future, says Satish Shankar of Bain & Company By Mastufa Ahmed

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atish Shankar, the Regional Managing Partner of Bain & Company Asia-Pacific, shares his thoughts on the accelerated evolution of workforce management as a result of COVID-19. Satish is the leader of Bain's APAC Agribusiness practice, as well as an expert in the firm's Advanced Manufacturing & Services, Airlines & Transportation, Energy & Natural Resources, and Mergers & Acquisitions practices. He joined Bain in 1997 and his career has spanned a wide range of engagements, fields of expertise, and clients. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

With the new normal shaping the future of HR, how do you see the larger HR landscape evolve in 2021? How should talent | december 2020

leaders reimagine workforce management? We’ve seen the full power of HR at its best on display over the last nine months. The best teams have demonstrated their ability to stabilize challenges in a very dynamic and uncertain environment, to re-tool in fundamental ways for long-term shifts, and to bring a very personal touch to what has ultimately been the worst global humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. In short, the best teams have proven they can manage, strategize, and inspire at the same time. It is these same capabilities that will position the best HR teams to drive strategic differentiation for their organizations going forward—installing what my colleagues have called a ‘new deal for talent’. At the crux of this new deal

The best teams have proven they can manage, strategize and inspire at the same time, and it is these same capabilities that will position the best HR teams to drive strategic differentiation for their organizations going forward is a shift away from traditional professional modes of management toward talent management models that promote ‘scale insurgency’— speed, innovation, customer intimacy, ecosystem partnerships, and flexible capital structures and scale. Mission-critical roles closer to the front-lines, spiky leaders vs. ‘general managers’, agile teams that swarm problems with a test and learn meth-


december 2020 |

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set up ergonomic at-home workspaces, accelerating the roll-out of virtual collaboration tools (not only video conferencing but virtual workshopping and agile work planning), and launching a host of crowd-sourced rapid-fire hard skills and soft skills training around remote collaboration. A central team sprinted to make all of this happen within weeks so that we all turned the page of new ways of working in a very short period. Engagement: Next, we wanted to keep the Bain spirit alive, so we unleashed the creativity of our teams to find innovative ways to connect. In Australia, we hosted ‘Coffee Roulette’ virtual one-on-ones to keep people connected. In China, we hosted an inspiring learning series in which different team members volunteered to host seminars on a variety of work and

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precious elements of our odology, the use of networks and platform partners to culture and how do we amplify innovation, ‘career reinforce those with new passports’ instead of ladders, energy coming out of the and mission-driven firm obpandemic? jectives are all more critical • How do we look after the than ever in the new era. total well-being of our employees as the lines between work and home What are some of the blur? top questions that leaders need to ask to prepare the Can you share some workforce for the future of insights on some of your work as we strive to come most impactful initiatives out stronger from this around employee wellness, pandemic? productivity, and engageCOVID in many ways ment? forced us to look at the ‘new Many of the initiatives deal’ in earnest and accelerthat made a difference here ate our movement towards at Bain during the worst it—especially in terms of moments of COVID were the mission-critical roles at the front lines and an agile inno- result of grassroots innovation at the front lines, scaled vation methodology. As the up quickly for broad dissemiworld returns to ‘normal’, nation. there are a few questions Productivity: The first we should ask ourselves to thing we did was to ensure ensure we continue to make everyone was physically progress on our journeys: enabled for remote work. • How do we avoid a “snapback” to old ways of work- This involved providing allowances for individuals to ing and, at the same time, respond to customer and employee desires for a return to normalcy? • How do we continue to celebrate the ‘essential’ front line workers as the heroes of our organizations? • How do we keep up the spirit of agile innovation? • How do we embrace the benefits of remote work and virtual collaboration while mitigating their downsides? • What are the most

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non-work related topics. We shifted our culture-building off-site and team events online, as well. To facilitate continuous innovation and experience-sharing, we asked everyone to post their best tips and ideas online for all to learn from. Wellness: As time wore on, we started to see signs of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. We’ve launched regular pulse check surveys on top of our case team survey cadence to monitor the health of each cohort. We launched personal capacity building training to give individuals

COVID-19 has forced us to look at the “new deal” in earnest and accelerate our movement towards it. What questions should we ask ourselves to ensure we continue to make progress on our journey? the tools to manage these challenges, and trained our leadership team on how to spot the warning signs and respond effectively. In some offices, we hired counselors on retainer to provide confidential drop-in counseling support. In others, we’ve subsidized wellness apps.

What’s your take on remote work? Is it going to stick around for longer? What’s Bain's plan moving forward in line with this? We have seen the power of remote work and virtual collaboration. There are 96

some undeniable benefits that we should embrace and build into our BAU. Most importantly, a more flexible hybrid model that allows employees to work where they are most productive at different points in a project life cycle or depending on the nature of the function. We’ve also seen that collaboration can be enhanced in virtual modes—we can ‘bring in’ an expert from the other side of the planet at very short notice, facilitate very effective small group break-outs at the click of a button, conduct workshops

| december 2020

through virtual brainstorming tools more efficiently than ever before. Of course, we also need to be very mindful of the unique challenges and mitigate them. Developing relationships in a new team or with new clients is something we need to over-invest in upfront. Onboarding of new joiners is also an area where selective in-person time will always be very important. Soft apprenticeship also needs to be made much more intentional. Moving forward, we have developed a playbook that

embraces the best of remote and in-person, giving "omnichannel" flexibility to individuals to pick the appropriate mode at different points in time. We expect this to enhance our productivity while driving work-life balance benefits to our teams. It is very important that we not ‘snap back’ to old ways of working, so have designed a change management program to ensure we all build the muscles to talk through these new norms as teams and also manage boundaries as individuals.

One lesson you have learned from this pandemic and why it matters? Common wisdom suggests and a tremendous amount of empirical data confirms that organizations should never waste a crisis. These are moments in which the ‘cement is soft’ and we have opportunities to innovate, leapfrog, and shake things up. The data shows that it is during downturns that we see the birth or rebirth of the best performing organizations of the following decade. Whether it is your social contract with your talent or your supply chain, it is important to seize the moment not just to crisis-manage but to retool. This is the mindset with which we approach this moment internally at Bain and the spirit with which we are advising our clients across the globe.


Humanity re-discovered in 2020: Reflections for human capital leadership in 2021

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consider our plans for the year ahead. Observation 1: Humans are adaptable – Wow! I hope change management experts were paying attention this year! The typical old challenge of influencing people to accept a change as simple as a new process, system, or structure seems easy after seeing what we were able to do in 2020! Entire companies demonstrated agility as we all made rapid adjustments in our business operations. Vast populations in countries stayed home, jobs impossible to do from home became doable, and all critical travel became unnecessary within weeks or days! In addition, we

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2020 has been a year like no other and it has allowed us to re-discover our own humanity and vulnerability. For human capital leaders, we have an opportunity to reflect on this and create an even better future for our organizations, our profession, and for ourselves By Richard Smith, Ph.D.

ally in ways we could not have imagined just a year ago. If think back to the end of 2019, many were preoccupied with the coming digital revolution and climate change impact as we considered what this might mean for humans. When COVID-19 arrived, we suddenly reprioritized to address immediate risks. Dealing with this invisible virus enemy has highlighted our humanity in unexpected ways; perhaps testing us in this manner surfaced issues that were not on our priority list previously. In the spirit of reflection, I will share these re-discovered observations of our humanity as we

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itnessing what is happening around the world from my post in Singapore, I find it striking to see how governments, businesses, and societies are grappling with our new reality in very different ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the frailty of our human condition along with other challenges in our world today. We have all been affected personally and professiondecember 2020 |

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suddenly became digitally tech-savvy in many ways! We have demonstrated to ourselves that we can make big changes quickly – we are all adaptable! Looking forward – As we think about human capital leadership, how can we build on this adaptability for our workplaces of the future? It would be a missed opportunity to simply go back to our old ways. How do we take the good from the pre-COVID world coupled with the lessons from COVID to reinvent how work is done? How might we keep the organizational agility as a part of company culture to help us innovate for the future? Observation 2: Human social cohesion is fragmented – Several incidents around the world this year have surfaced systemic racism and prejudice in our societies. In our businesses, we often have diversity efforts which have led to good progress in areas of employment over the years, but it is clear that we still have a long way to go to create an inclusive workplace and society. We also have witnessed the further economic bifurcation of our societies. Over the years, we have noted the widening income inequality with the rising Gini coefficient around the world. Unfortunately, the impact of COVID has likely furthered this divide. For many people, the | december 2020

I hope change management experts were paying attention this year! The typical old challenge of influencing people to accept a change as simple as a new process, system, or structure seems easy after seeing what we were able to do in 2020! pandemic has caused the loss of income, challenges at home, and additional health issues. However, those with higher income levels are more likely able to remain safe, work from home, and even profit from the impact of the pandemic. In many global regions, we have serious tensions regarding income gaps, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, and gender that have surfaced due in part to the unintended consequences of social media, access to disinformation, as well as increased awareness. Looking forward – As we make our human capital

plans for 2021, what more should we each do in the area of diversity? Employers can make an important difference not only for their workplace but also in society. What are the ways that your organization can make a diversity impact by demonstrating an inclusive approach with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders? How might HR leaders help make an impact on the vast income differences in our compensation systems? What else can the private sector do to help bring about social cohesion around the world?


to be comfortable sharing. At the same time, tools like Zoom are becoming more professional (Zoom’s new “Studio Effects” enhances facial features). How can we find a way to keep those uniquely human touches in 2021? Observation 5: Health is a human value – The health risks associated with COVID-19 created immediate needs related to ensure the physical safety of employees and others in the workplace. Suddenly, the virus risk allocated more value and appreciation for human health, something that we may have taken for granted. Many CHROs found themselves acting as a “Chief Health & Risk Officer” in the response to the pandemic. As physical work was restricted and knowledge work became virtual, a second impact

december 2020 |

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hosts broadcasting from home, CEOs and other leaders Zooming from their living rooms, and our teammates introducing us to their young children who popped into our video calls. These imperfections became welcomed nuances as many embraced these situations as relatable human connections. Through this crisis, many embraced the humility and the authenticity of being themselves with others. These accidental humble moments perhaps endeared us and engaged us more than the polished, edited, scrubbed professional messages. Looking forward – While we adjust to virtual working and digital tools, how can leaders of human capital manage to keep a human touch? It would be great to build cultures of authenticity where people continue

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Observation 3: Humans are collectively strong – As we watched the videos of Italian people singing from their balconies during lockdown and fun Vietnamese messages about wearing masks, we saw the tremendous strength of people working together and supporting each other. We also saw the collective strong vigilance to beat the virus in places like Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other locations. We, unfortunately, witnessed locations where people acted with individual interests (e.g. USA) that are not faring so well against the threat of COVID-19. When we work with a collective orientation, we can accomplish great things! Looking forward – As leaders, we know that teamwork can be a powerful force in accomplishing goals. How can we create more teamwork and collective ambition in our organizations? Imagine the collective strength of the human capital of your business and consider what your teams can accomplish for a positive impact. How might we use a collective orientation to make a difference with critical issues such as climate change? Observation 4: Imperfect humans are relatable – Rather than polished shows and speeches, we watched late-night talk show

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surfaced regarding the mental health of the workforce. Many leading companies have been actively working to help address the stress, isolation, and frustration of employees through various engagement programs and other interventions. Looking forward – The virus will be with us into 2021 and we will continue

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As we think about human capital leadership, how can we build on this adaptability for our workplaces of the future? It would be a missed opportunity to simply go back to our old ways. How do we take the good from the pre-pandemic world coupled with the lessons from COVID-19 to reinvent how work is done? to need to be mindful of the physical and psychological health of those in our workforce as well as our contractors, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Those in the Human Resource Management profession have an opportunity to use this focus on health to help reshape the nature of the profession. | december 2020

How might human capital leaders raise the importance of wellness and wellbeing to the forefront of the top management agenda? As we plan for the year ahead, there are many considerations, concerns, and ideas for our future. 2020 has been a year like no other and it has allowed us to re-discover our own humanity and vulnerability. For human capital lead-

styles, diversity, values, and cultures. In 2021, I will be taking action to follow my interests in both Health and Human Capital to a new post at Johns Hopkins University in the USA. Building on my work in Asia, I plan to take on new challenges as we evolve our global thinking on Human Capital Leadership. Of course, I will continue to stay connected with People Maters and you,

ers, we have an opportunity to reflect on this and create an even better future for our organizations, our profession, and for ourselves. What will you take from your 2020 experience to create a better 2021? For me, I have learned invaluable lessons from my post here in Singapore this year. In fact, over the past 15 years, I have learned from the rich experiences of our Asian life-

my colleagues in the region. I look forward to seeing how we will create our new future in 2021 and how we will collectively evolve the Leadership of Human Capital around the world. ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Richard R. Smith, Ph.D. is a Professor at Singapore Management University and a Research Fellow at the Indian School of Business. Effective January 2021, Professor Smith will join the faculty at Johns Hopkins University where he will also serve as Vice Dean of the Business School.


We are entering a new era in the way we work: Zoom's Michael Chetner

Michael Chetner, Head of Australia and APAC at Zoom, shares thoughts and tips about how companies can leverage the pandemic's disruption to improve their use of technology and thereby their productivity and employee engagement By Mastufa Ahmed

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How do you see the landscape of work and communication evolving in the coming year? Is the future mode of work going to be hybrid? Many businesses are now weighing up a return to the workplace, a wholesale shift to remote working, or something in between. But as the contrails begin to fade, we are preparing for a transition to a world of hybrid working. As mentioned by founder and chief executive Eric Yuan, while we will be witnessing more organizations embrace remote work, we believe there is a place for the office too. We are therefore continuously working to improve our platform to enhance user experience and better enable the hybrid workforce. What have you learned about the current scenario and about the remote mode december 2020 |

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flexible work revolution at an unprecedented speed. The way people communicate will be changed forever—we are entering a new era in the way we work and are not going back Hence, it is crucial that business leaders see and understand what is possible—whereas once remote work might have been seen as a ‘perk’ offered to the few, it’s now become part of the very fabric of how we run our businesses. And I don’t see that changing back in a hurry. People far and wide have been able to experience the benefits of working outside of the traditional office environment—for example, The traditional office envi- eliminating long commutes ronment is changing amid and picking spaces that suit this chaos, but the degree to their needs—so there’s no doubt that habits and workwhich it should be shifting ing practices will change. is something experts have different opinions on. What's The office will therefore need to be altered to compleyour take on this? ment this new style, with a The pandemic and WFH more adaptive use of space mandates have no doubt and technology. accelerated the shift in the

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ichael Chetner, Head of Australia and APAC at Zoom, leads a team across Asia Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. He was the region’s first employee in 2017, and oversees the company's growth strategy across all customer segments, from SMB to mid-market, to enterprise customers. Here, he shares the perspective of a virtual platform provider on how attitudes and practices towards flexible work are changing and how the way we communicate is being affected and shares tips on implementing and improving remote work.

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of working? Will remote working stick around even after COVID-19? We have always believed that video is the future of communication. This crisis has shown that companies that working from home is both feasible and productive. Geography is no longer an impediment to remote work and avails them to global talent pools. For a diverse, fragmented region such as Southeast Asia, this greater connectivity can support regional business expansion, with sales and support teams on the ground—all from the comfort of home. Companies can also realize savings in business infrastructure. It’s not a stretch to say the future workplace is a remote or hybridized one. Do you think remote employees can still be productive? What is your advice for leaders on how they should gear up to ensure team engagement and productivity for virtual workers in 2021? This sudden transition to a remote workforce saw business leaders having to quickly learn how to empower remote teams, as well as help them maintain their productivity, security, and team building. But despite the steep and rapid learning curve, it’s seen great success—and we believe companies will continue embracing the | december 2020

work from home model postCOVID 19. The proof is there for all to see. In APAC, for example, job listings show an uptick in remote job postings, with Singapore seeing the largest growth in the share of applications. This is followed by India, Australia, China, New Zealand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Morgan Stanley meanwhile has predicted that office tenants across Asia will permanently give up between three percent and nine percent of their existing office space over the next three years. And according to Skillsoft, nine in ten employees across APAC are expecting COVID-19-related policy changes to become permanent post-pandemic— these including expecting flexi-hours to become a norm, and wanting more

opportunities to work from home. Here are some best practices for enabling a productive remote workforce: • Leverage the cloud: Cloud-based solutions can easily replicate the offices’ technology ecosystem and empower the remote workforce • Stay connected, professionally & socially: Holding daily check-ins to keep employees engaged while hosting virtual happy hours, workout sessions, or other events with colleagues to strengthen bonds • Help them stay secure: By issuing secure corporate laptops and phones and providing security best practices, companies can protect employee data and prevent unauthorized access while employees remotely work.


Here are some best practices and practical tools to maintain those company ties: • Be available and schedule check-in time: When teams transition to remote work, it is easy for projects and initiatives to get lost in the mix, so it’s crucial for leaders to reaffirm the team roadmap and ensure alignment on priorities. • Keep things clear: Transparency is key when leading a team remotely. Build trust and confidence with the team with honest communication so team members feel secure. Stay on track by using a team chat, and hosting regular

What's one lesson you have learned from this pandemic? COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of technology—during the past few months, we have witnessed businesses worldwide scrambling to get their IT infrastructure setup in order to maintain business continuity. The pandemic has also taught us a lesson in company agility and made us collectively realize how important it is to be willing to shift gears when necessary. And as the pace of technological development accelerates, the only constant is change. The pandemic has no doubt accelerated the need to embrace digital transformation. A proactive technology strategy built around adapting operations and building resilience can equip the enterprise with a stronger competitive edge as we move forward in our Next Normal. december 2020 |

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What's your advice on how to best leverage technology to maintain closer, more personal connections with employees?

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of technology and taught us a lesson in company agility, making us collectively realize how important it is to be willing to shift gears when necessary

meetings and calls for cohesive communication. • Don’t forget the human touch: feeling connected when working from home is still challenging. So remember to include some casual and fun elements in your communications. On Zoom, for example, that might mean having a background that sparks a conversation or using filters.

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How can organizations grow a positive company culture with a remote team? What have you learned from your customers about this new culture? Organizational culture is arguably one of the most important ways to keep employees engaged, and even more so now that many of us are remote employees. Here are a couple of realworld examples for maintaining morale. • Virtual lunch and learns: Sharing a meal is an excuse to catch up and talk, and one of the few times where people are happy to put aside their work and take time out of their day to decompress. Keep your teams connected and in touch with a virtual lunch or coffee hour. • Organize a company “rendezvous”: Zoom has workers around the world who might never get to meet in person, so once a quarter, leaders / HR can host a “Zoom Rendezvous.” This virtual event is a chance to connect with remote Zoomies and share fun stories and ideas. It’s a great way to put a face to a name and meet other colleagues.

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Charting the course of the new world of work

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We have learned how unprepared and poorly resourced most organizations were, and still are, to manage through a severe crisis By Clinton Wingrove

| december 2020

OVID-19 will continue to impact every corner of our lives until we have (a) an effective vaccine widely administered, (b) a proven therapy, or (c) herd immunity. But, what have we learned from its impact over the last ten months? Can this help us foresee the future world of work? First, we have learned how unprepared and poorly resourced most organizations were, and still are, to manage through a severe crisis. Surprisingly, many in authority are beating their chests about how well they responded to the crisis. But did they respond? No, most reacted! There was no plan. Their hands were forced.

They had no choice. Overconfidence bias has also been contagious and virulent. Second, we have learned the power of empowerment and collaboration in the face of adversity. Organizations large and small have seen operational changes designed, implemented, and running smoothly within days - which they previously thought impossible. In many cases, it was the frontline staff who acted to sustain the workflow. Third, we have learned that employees can not be taken for granted. Their commitment is a limited resource. If we don’t provide adequate support, we see stress, anxiety, and depression rapidly eroding their capability. So, when will we get back to normal? We won’t.


We are already seeing some short-term patterns emerging: • Many organizations are stating that having successfully moved to use virtual platforms during this largely remote working period, they will not be returning to face-to-face meetings or, possibly, even face-to-face training. This may appear commercially

sensible and, currently, many staff declares a preference for Work From Home (WFM) policies. But, we are already seeing the novelty of virtual working waning. The social disconnect and emotional distance effects of virtual working are creating relationship, engagement, and well-being issues. • Many organizations are stating that having moved successfully to WFM policies, they will dramatically reduce their office space and not return to previous levels of centralized on-site working. Some are considering multiple, more cost-effective, localized “hot-desk” environments.

Again, that may appear cost-effective. But, we have yet to see the cumulative impact of the loss of informal connections and conversations. We may be underestimating the value of the communications that arise when we meet each other informally. These interactions support inclusion, innovation, and talent management, to name but three critical business issues. • Many retail organizations are shifting their operations to be primarily on-line. How is this going to play out when, for example, the focus swings back to climate change and the need to reduce carbon footprints? Will we have to start counting the cost of the explosion in home delivery december 2020 | 105

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So, what might the upcoming workplace look like?

We have learned that employees can not be taken for granted. Their commitment is a limited resource. If we don’t provide adequate support, we see stress, anxiety, and depression rapidly eroding their capability

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Time is the only one of the four known dimensions that is unidirectional; it only ever goes forwards; never backward. If only we could go back in time. Perhaps then, many of those who now pontificate about what they would have done better than those in authority would have to prove it. Unfortunately, we have to start from where we are, not from where we would like to be. The reality is that COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future.


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vehicles and the dramatic surge in the use of packing materials for largely single item deliveries? We are all getting tired of virtual meetings (which, for a while, were novel and even exciting). Will we also get tired of not being able to look at, touch, feel, and smell potential purchases, and of having to send many items back because we don’t like them or they don’t fit? • Many organizations are replacing permanent and full-time staff with contingent workers. But, they seem to have forgotten already the pushback that was occurring against such practices and zero-hours contracts pre-pandemic. Using the staff who are not assured of employment (and the benefits that come with that) has a price. We cannot rely on their

commitment, enthusiasm, or engagement. The pandemic has shown that staff needs CARE - Clarity, Assurance, Recognition, and Empathy. • Many organizations are automating as many of their processes as possible. But, without care, this brings commoditization of what they do and a downward spiral in prices and profits. In an increasingly global commercial world, in which product and process emulation is increasingly easy, differentiation will remain the province of the people interfacing between client and vendor. Many organizations may be ignoring that to their peril. • Many organizations have invested heavily in wellness, mindfulness, and other employee-support programs.

But, the need for organizations to rebuild their liquid assets is already kicking in hard. This pressure will only increase, and tough financial decisions will need to be made. Will we be able to sustain such employee support? Will those services be cut and staff “empowered” to find their own solutions. We’ve seen that happen to their personal development support.

And, what about the longer term?

We must learn from this COVID-19 experience. It has tested our commercial, technological, and analytical knowledge and skills. And, to their credit, HR have stepped in and helped most organizations survive in the short term. But COVID-19 has proven that the significant differentiator of sustainably successful

The new world of work needs to see more organizations resourcing themselves to manage crises… because there will be new ones: new viruses, military conflicts, climate change related disasters, in addition to major changes in global political and economic orders 106

| december 2020


They had the right people in management positions – skilled, committed, and already prepared to manage a crisis; managers who wanted to lead. The new world of work needs to see more organizations resourcing themselves to manage crises … because there will be new ones - new viruses, military conflicts, climate change related disasters, in addition to major changes in global political and economic orders. What we used to see as major problems for management such as price competition and the war for talent have been relegated to minor status. Crisis management

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organizations is the quality of leadership and management. Those organizations that are coping best with lockdowns are those with excellent leadership and management. They are able to rally their staff around a unifying vision and survival strategy. They are able to manage the practicalities of implementing that strategy, promptly and cost-effectively. This is not because of luck, not because they quickly benchmarked against other organizations, and not because they received external or HR support. It is because they were prepared; they had planned.

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As we move into the year 2021, it’s time to set better norms that will instill a holistically healthy, productive, and inclusive workforce into the future. To achieve that, HR leaders need to focus on management excellence

is now the premier skill in demand. The new world of work, especially for managers, will be a quite different place. As we move into the year 2021, it’s time to set better norms that will instill a holistically healthy, productive, and inclusive workforce into the future. To achieve that, HR leaders need to focus on Management Excellence. They need to ensure that individuals are trained well before they are appointed to manage others. They need to select only those who are demonstrably capable of managing others and only those who genuinely want to do so. They must select only those who will prioritize their time on unleashing the potential and optimizing the performance of their staff. But, most importantly, what COVID19 has taught us is that managers must also focus on the longer-term – identifying potential risks, assessing their likelihood and their likely impact, developing contingency plans, and acquiring and protecting resources with which to implement those plans. If they do that, the future world of work may be much less stressful than right now. ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Clinton Wingrove is the Director of www.WantToBeGreatManager.com and www.ClintonHR.com Email: clinton.wingrove@ WantToBeGreat.com december 2020 |

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Are We Too Remote for Our Employees? 108

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People Matters conducted an extensive survey, as part of our BeNext program, of leaders and HR professionals to gauge their experience and impressions of remote work. Read on to know about the major findings By Maia Jenkins

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tate virtual meetings, and navigate the difficult line between social isolation and keeping people safe. As part of our BeNext program, People Matters conducted an extensive survey of leaders and HR professionals to gauge their experience and impressions of remote work. Gathering data from over 670 respondents, the survey includes responses from professionals in APAC, Europe, the United States, and beyond, across a broad range of industries and sectors including staffing & recruiting, education, telecommunications, financial services, media, insurance, IT services, aviation, and nonprofits. The ‘’Are We Too Remote for Our Employees’’ report explores: • Top challenges of remote or hybrid work. • Biggest impacts (positive or negative) that remote work has had on business. • Some of the biggest challenges for people leaders

Key findings

From this data, a number of key themes emerge in relation to remote work and building supportive strategies. What seems certain is the understanding that this surge in remote work will be in place, in some form or another for the long term and that people leaders will need to develop specific power skills to manage this change: • The majority (60.6%) of respondents are likely to be in blended mode for the next 6 to 12 months. • The biggest challenge facing HR teams in remote work is engaging and bonding with team members - an issue for 63% of respondents. • The majority of respondents (55.2%) have introduced some initiatives to support people leaders in managing virtual teams, but nothing structured or formalized.

people matters survey

s organizations are finding their balance between on-site, remote, and blended, it is clear that we will need to empower our managers to better align, engage & motivate virtual teams. We know there are challenges managing people and working remotely. But what are we currently doing about it? What is the action plan? Are we too remote to think about it, and are we ignoring the most pertinent questions? Globally, the large scale pivot to remote work happened quickly as a result of the pandemic outbreak. After the initial shock of this transition had subsided, organizations began to track an uptick in productivity and satisfaction among employees working remotely. However, as the year draws to a close and there is no concrete end in sight for the pandemic, burnout, fatigue, and reports of overwork have begun to enter the discourse. Remote or virtual work is seen as a key contributing factor. Across the globe, organizations are attempting to pinpoint how to keep teams engaged, align productivity, facili-

managing virtual teams. • How far along companies are in establishing a formal program to support their leaders. • Solutions and strategies for building a remote work roadmap.

The majority (60.6%) of respondents are likely to be in blended mode for the next 6 to 12 months, finds our study which highlights a number of key themes that emerge in relation to remote work december 2020 |

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Breakdown of respond- Breakdown of top challenges ents

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The data-driven insights contained in this report were gathered between September and October 2020. There were 670 respondents total to the ‘’Are We Too Remote for Our Employees?’ survey. Respondents came from all over the world and across industries. 44 percent of responses came from companies with less than 500 people employed, 17 percent between 501-1000, 19.3 percent between 10015000, 6.6 percent between 5001-10,000 and 13.1 percent over 10,000.

63% Building engagement & bonding with team members 60% Managing work-life balance for themselves & their team members 48% Monitoring productivity remotely 38% Making sure he/she is communicating effectively 37% Keeping track on what each team members are working on and aligning

28% Facilitating virtual meetings that are inclusive and engaging 14% Having difficult one2one conversations 13% Using technologies available for team communication and collaboration

culture has been a struggle for the majority of respondents. 63 percent listed ‘’Building engageHow many people ment & bonding with team are employed at members’’ as a top challenge your company to negotiate. Almost seven months into the pandemic, 0 0 e managing work-life balance ,0 10 abov & % - both for themselves and .1 50 13 01 their team members - is also 6.6 -10 % ,000 an issue for 60 percent of Less than 500 respondents. Close to half 44.0% 0 500 1 0 of respondents (48%) are 10 % 19.3 also struggling to monitor productivity remotely. 501-1000 Other common but less 17.0% pressing challenges include keeping track of what each team member is working on A crosscutting look at and aligning (37%), making remote sure he/she is communicatWhat have been the biggest ing effectively (38%), and challenges so far? facilitating virtual meetThe first question we asked ings that are inclusive and respondents was ‘’what have engaging (28%). Using been the top three challenges technologies available for of remote work so far?’’ team communication and Maintaining company collaboration was less diffi| december 2020

cult, with only 13 percent of respondents placing this in their top three challenges.

How many are in remote work reality for the long haul?

When asked how long they expect remote work to last (and in what form) responses varied: • The majority (60.6%) say they will be in blended mode for the next 6 to 12 months (some team members will work remotely and some team members in office). • Just under a quarter (23%) are optimistic they’ll be back in the physical office full time in the next 6 to 12 months. • Only 16.6% report they expect to be “fully remote” for the next 6 to 12 months at least. This means that remote work is projected to be a


What's your view on how long remote work will continue in your context? 500

400

400

200 100

We are likely to be in blended mode for the next 6 to 12 months

22.8%

We are likely to be back in the physical office full time in the next 6 to 12 months

How ready are our people managers?

For the next question, respondents were asked to assess what percentage of their people managers were well-equipped to manage, align, and communicate with virtual teams. Here, results were more evenly distributed: • A third estimate only 30% of managers have the tools and skills to manage, align, and communicate with virtual teams. • Around a third say over half of their managers are confident in this area. • 23% estimate the majority

16.6%

0

We are fully remote for the next 6 to 12 months at least

(70%) of their managers are confident to manage virtual teams. While these results give a broader impression of the capabilities of managers to lead virtual teams, it still means 65 percent of respondents believe only

Solutions & strategies

How are companies managing remote work transition so far? Looking ahead, companies are recognizing the necessity of providing support for their people leaders and coming up with ways to approach the new reality of remote work. However, the majority of respondents (55.2%) are only at the beginning of this transition and say that while they have implemented some initiatives, they have nothing structured and formal. A small percentage of respondents (12%) indicate they already have a struc-

people matters survey

central part of the workflow for 77 percent of respondents for at least the next year. So, how prepared are leaders to navigate this next phase of the remote work context?

In your assessment, what % of your people managers in your organization do you think feel equiped in managing, aligning & communicating with virtual teams? In your assessment, what % of your people

60.6%

around half their managers are “well-equipped” to tackle this ongoing virtual work scenario. This suggests there is a distinct need to formalize training and support leaders in this area.

250 200 150 100 50 0

33%

Not more than 30% is my estimated guess

22.5%

Upward of 70% are confident managing virtual teams

13%

Can't tell, I do'nt know

32%

At least 50% of our managers are confident

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Do you have a formal program to train people leaders (team managers, squad leaders, project leaders) in managing virtual teams? 400

300

200

100

people matters survey

0

55.2%

We have implemented some initiatives but nothing structured and formal

15.8%

We have not yet started & it is not a priority at the moment

tured and formal program in place to support their leaders. Around 17 percent have not started implementing a program but “urgently” need to support their leaders, while around 16 percent have not started implementing a remote work support program but say it’s “not a priority” at the moment. For the most part, it seems, companies are keen to start supporting their teams in remote work but are unsure exactly what form this support could or should take.

What is next for remote work? From this data, it’s clear that the majority of organizations are acutely aware of how central remote work is going to be in the Future of Work. But how are they 112

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12%

We have a structured & mature program

16.9%

We have not started but urgently need to support our leaders

going to build this model into their strategies and prepare their leaders to operate in this increasingly virtual context? When asked how they’re planning to bridge the skills gap, 43 percent of respondents said they would continue to invest in what they’re currently doing.

Around 36 percent indicate they’re working on something “in-house” to bridge the skills gap, while 21 percent are “urgently” looking at their options on the market to help in skilling their managers. Whatever the next step, these results seem to show that most companies are seriously investing time, effort, and resources into empowering their teams with the skills they need to negotiate the remote work landscape.

Maintaining company culture has been a struggle for the majority of respondents. 63 percent listed ‘Building engagement & bonding with team members’ as a top challenge to negotiate

How are you planning to bridge the skills gap? 300

200

100

0

36%

Building something in house

21%

Urgently looking at options in the market to help in skilling our managers

43%

Continue to invest in what we are currently doing


The goal of this report was to start asking the most pertinent questions and gauge if we’re currently “too remote” for our employees. From our research, we now know that the human element is the most pressing issue and that leaders are struggling to maintain engagement and bond with their teams in a virtual context. Leaders also need support in balancing work and life while working remotely, as it seems these lines between the office and home life have become blurred. Despite the myriad tools and resources available to us, communication is also suffering: meetings, productivity, one-to-one conversations, and keeping on track

Whether companies opt for something in-house or look to external resources, now is the time to start planning to expand remote work capabilities and bridge the skills gaps in virtual work are all concerning and must be addressed. So, where do we go from here? Moving forwards, it’s clear that leaders need support to manage, communicate, and align their virtual teams, particularly considering how remote work is going to form the bedrock of future workflows. Whether companies opt for something in-house or look to external resources, now is the time to start planning to expand remote work capabilities and bridge the skills gaps in virtual work.

people matters survey

Final thoughts

People Matters BeNext is the platform for leaders to accelerate their impact on People & Work by acquiring New Power Skills to solve the strategic business issues impacting the future of work. Already this year, we’ve successfully designed and run the BeNext Working-FromHome Certification Mastertrack, a four-module program that directly addresses the challenges, issues, and questions outlined in this report. Remote work as a Future of Work strategy is at the center of many organizations, allowing for access to talent globally, increased flexibility, and a new lower-cost model. At People Matters, we believe that with the right support and strategic planning, remote work can be recast as a huge opportunity as we negotiate shifts in culture, skills, behaviors, and contexts. december 2020 |

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The 4A way of learning:

Learning & Development

A practical approach to organizational learning goals

Even as we move into a world of virtual learning and development, it is critical to ensure we follow the fundamental principles of learning so that learning solutions are properly business-specific and learner-centric. The authors, who are from the L&D team at AFS, Mahindra & Mahindra, share a framework that has worked for them By Neha Jangale, Twinkle Tukra, Ratna Joshi

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lthough organizational lenses for learning and development have evolved considerably over the last few decades, the underlying concept of learning taxonomies still prevails. Learning taxonomies allow the definition of learning behaviors. Traditionally | december 2020

and even today, L&D professionals and organizations use learning taxonomies to distinguish different levels of human cognition, such as remembering, thinking, understanding, or applying. Taxonomies thus play a critical role to create layers or degrees of learning. Out of the many learning

taxonomies, organizations have most often preferred Bloom’s taxonomy, which identifies three distinct skill domains—cognitive, affective, and sensory— and breaks each domain down into levels of learning objectives. This fundamental approach of classifying learning items with the same objectives, and explicitly indicating what a learner must do to demon-


Applying Bloom's taxonomy to create a practical model

With our decades of experience in learning delivery, keeping the learner at the central focus, we believe it is critical to translate the philosophy into a practical model that serves well in today’s organizational context. First, however, we must understand and address the challenges. Bloom’s taxonomy was developed in the 1950s and although it has seen an evolution in the intervening years, its 2001 revision still presents a few fundamental challenges in the real-world context for any organization. The first challenge that has been generally observed, is that while the lowest three levels of Bloom’s taxonomy—Knowledge, Comprehension, and Application—have a hierarchical order, the three

L2

Remember

The 4A Way of Learning as an approach covers four different thematic levels towards learning, each level denoting the depth of the competence building and

L2 L3

L0

Level-based approach: The 4A Way of Learning

Traditional learning levels can be envisaged practically in today’s context and further leveraged toward creating learning curriculum and interventions

Experiential learning

Reflective learning

forth unto creating. Bloom’s taxonomy levels hence miss the interrelated and overlapping nature of cognition. Bringing these challenges into consideration, learning across levels and its cognitive interconnectedness can be approached by visualizing the learning framework. Blending the traditional layers into ‘Learning Levels’, this approach can be envisaged more practically in today’s context and further leveraged toward creating learning curriculum and interventions. Learning & Development

higher levels are more parallel. The distinction between Create, Evaluate, and Analyze in a learner’s assimilation of knowledge is subject to debate. Also, in real-world problem-based learning, it could be sometimes more logical to move to the application before concepts, introducing the real-world context to make it relatable before the theoretical wisdom. The second challenge, and perhaps the most testing, is the clean-cut distinction of different levels that Bloom’s proposes. The clear distinction and level, while well defined, may not be considered an accurate representation of the way learning takes place. Humans may not necessarily go in the order of remembering things, to understanding, then applying and so

strate learning, is why Bloom’s taxonomy has been so often adopted as a foundational framework for setting up an organization's learning goals.

L1

With multiple level feedback and action learning project

L2

Understand

Apply

L3

Analyse

Evaluate

Create

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Learning & Development

The 4A Way of learning allows for the progressive nature of developing skills each level at a time, leading to continuous progress of learning

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guiding the design attributes. This approach retains Bloom’s level-wise approach to learning while cutting across layers to define 4 ‘A’s of learning delivery. In addition, the approach also proposes correlating media mixes that blend with the four levels of learning. With the 4A approach, Bloom’s taxonomy translates into an array of micro learning content that enables practitioners to create and develop digital programs that are business specific and learnercentric. The practical and flexible aspects allow a practitioner to deliver any training solution by applying the 4A backbone and implement contextual programs.

An illustrative example: The future skills domain

An exemplary application in the future skill domain

of Industry 4.0 has been successfully implemented and deployed at Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., for a learner population of approximately 2,000 Manufacturing employees. In this application, the 4A approach is a step-by-step built up training program that filters the learner group at every step, based on the degree of knowledge deployment required.

Fig. Progressive digital learning journey on Industry 4.0 at Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

Level

Name

Definition

Media Mix

L0

Awareness

Building basic understanding, overview and context setting basics of the subject

Articles, blogs, videos, and infographics can essentially feature as the media mix at this level.

L1

Appreciation

Basic competence building of subject. Learner should be able to ‘’appreciate’’ the importance of the topic and predict its impact on the environment.

Micro-learnings can be used in addition to the media mix stated at L0

L2

Application

An Intermediate level where conscious competence is built and application of knowledge in work setting becomes possible

Webinars by experts, classroom programs and case studies

L3

Accreditation

Advanced skill building, mastering the subject and competence, and enabling unconscious competence

Advanced skill building, mastering the subject and competence, and enabling unconscious competence

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The business impact: Deep skilling

In today’s age of evolving business dynamics, skill development is observed through multiple lenses. Organizations are re-looking at existing skills, consciously identifying critical impact areas for futurereadiness, and maintaining a competitive edge. As one

deep dive into specific areas of future skilling, a robust method to develop continuous learning paths ultimately deep skilling needs to be the end goal. The 4A Way of learning allows for the progressive nature of developing skills each level at a time. In a phase-wise manner, upskilling patterns lead to continuous progress of learning. This can be clearly observed in the Industry 4.0 example illustrated above.

Application in the virtual scenario

The 4A Way of Learning proposes a compelling approach for driving digital L&D interventions across an organization, especially given the virtual working environment. As a tested model with visible success stories, it has immense potential in the new digital age of our businesses where

remote working is the new reality. With the evident rise of L&D in the virtual space, the model enables spanning this approach towards deploying 4A-based training programs to global partners across the world. This constructive alignment and correlation to Bloom’s taxonomy ensure the fundamental principles of learning are retained even while we observe a shift from traditional classroom programs to online learning. The importance of this balance is predominant in nurturing the mindset shift for all practitioners to adopt online learning methods to deliver training solutions.

Learning & Development

The progressive approach of the digital learning journey allows multiple learning paths and levels of learning within one holistic journey, also allowing practitioners to further sharpen a homogeneous employee base into targeted employee group needs. In the digital space, it also allows the program developers to provide a plethora of mixed digital media solutions addressing each level of the 4A approach. A critical aspect for an in-depth examination of the approach is to consider the cost-time investment versus impact. When investing in the curation of digital learning programs, the simplistic nature of the approach allows a high impact delivery while maintaining the cost-time investment in the development of one holistic program, and differentiation in its deployment. The impact can be staggered across different learner groups, allowing learners to adopt and upskill in phases.

Neha Jangale and Twinkle Tukra are part of the L&D team at AFS, Mahindra & Mahindra; and Ratna Joshi heads the L&D team at AFS, Mahindra & Mahindra december 2020 |

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Tech will underpin the larger 'return to work' strategy: Publicis Sapient’s Global CPO

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In this exclusive conversation with People Matters, Kameshwari Rao, Global Chief People Officer, Publicis Sapient, talks about bulletproofing business models and operations with evolving digital collaboration, the ‘return to work’ strategy, and more By Bhavna Sarin

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ameshwari Rao has an illustrious career journey rich with experience, having served in multiple People Success leadership roles prior to her present role as Chief People Officer, Publicis Sapient. As part of the company’s global talent leadership team, she has been responsible for providing strategic leadership for its people agenda and building Publicis Sapient as an employer of choice. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

There is a significant influence of digital in all our lives today, right after conversations around a much needed digital detox began to surface. How are you bringing in that balance as a leader and as an individual? Technology unquestionably makes our working lives easier, adding flexibility and convenience, but during the pandemic, it has started to create an overwhelming effect on our people. Studies that correlate a fall in well-being with extensive use of technology are beginning to stack up and the idea of the “Digital Detox” is being posited as a solution. One of the ways to create balance for our teams is to make sure we know how to prioritize, not every meeting is important or leading to a decision, not all deliverables are to be taken care of today. Following discipline during work from home is also very important, getting up on time and


following a regular schedule to switching off on time, all of this makes a difference to every individual from a mental health perspective and leading a balanced life. Promoting taking leaves and regular breaks have also worked in our scenario and ensured people are getting enough time off to rewind and refresh themselves.

How do you view the digital transformation overdrive that the pandemic has forced organizations to go into overnight? The word “pivot” has

adoption amid the COVID-19 crisis? How is the pandemic changing investments in HR tech? HR Tech, which was moving at a slow pace, will see an increase in investments. Whether it is just managing operations, or delivering learning, or using data for decision making, there will be a very high need for organizations to invest in tools, technology, and people who understand technology.

Smart technology platforms and digital transformation solutions can help bulletproof business models and operations in the face of a global crisis to manage change across integrated business solutions. Smart technology platforms and digital transformation solutions can help bulletproof business models and operations in the face of a global crisis. The postCOVID-19 world will also focus on bringing a shift from human interaction to automation and AI-enabled technology. Companies must remain agile, adopt new ways of working, and respond to disruptive market conditions to remain competitive in this “new normal”.

What trends have you observed around HR tech

Have you implemented any new-age technologies such as AI, RPA, or blockchain to digitize your HR department? Our primary focus has been to focus on the safety & well-being of our people. Technology has played a significant role as it allows a deeper understanding of employee behavior and risks to well-being that will underpin a proper “return to work” strategy in the face of COVID19. It has also provided us access to data on changing employee expectations on flexible working. We have recently implemented an AI Chatbot for enabling our new hires to make their onboarding seamless and support december 2020 |

The N e w Workplace

What do you think the future holds for HR in a data-driven world post the pandemic? In this changing environment, the challenge for HR teams is to find a balance between technology particularly automation, and the human role in the organizations of the future. I believe the biggest challenge facing HR teams going forward is not keeping up with technology and learning new skills like data analysis, but it's finding the uniquely human place in the organization – and within the HR team itself. As remote working is set to become more normal post-COVID, it’s important to look after your employees, maintain inclusion as a focus, and ensure equity across diverse employee segments.

become the new buzzword, as organizations frantically adopt agile ways of working to ensure business continuity. The shift is not only in terms of remote-work policies and workplace hygiene, but an evolution in digital collaboration, crisis management tools, and business continuity strategies. With businesses having more reliance on digital capabilities, there will be an increase in transformation efforts and attempts

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The N e w Workpla ce

them while we are working from home this entire year. Our investments in AI & RPA will continue to be in focus, while we also invest in collaboration tools & platforms that connect the employee lifecycle across the board.

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How do you align your HR initiatives with the larger business goals? What role can leaders play to ensure a better alignment of HR technology investment and business goals? HR has been on the frontline of change throughout this pandemic, from changing health guidelines, leave legislation, workplace safety issues, onboarding, learning, and so on. The COVID19 crisis has pushed the HR teams to be more agile than ever, requiring them to showcase resiliency, adaptability, learning, and foresight. We transitioned to a WFH across all our offices almost overnight, with minimal disruption to operations and productivity and our HR teams led this move. I think leading with a purpose makes a difference. An effective partnership of business and HR is crucial in ensuring that we continue to focus on strategy while putting our people first. How are you ensuring continued learning for your employees especially for the virtual workforce? | december 2020

tem for our people to continuously learn and expand their capabilities.

Beyond the initial shift to WFH which forced us to do remote management, HR has to look at the long term impacts of managing cultural, social, emotional shifts with a new lens of technology

Do you think vendors are stepping up their game to address new market needs amid this crisis? We are in the stage of economic transformation worldwide and people are worried about their jobs and children’s education. There is enough and more fatigue that requires vendors to continuously come up with solutions to engage people, to make them more productive, or make their life easier. There is enough and more support needed on how systems fit, flexibility, ease of use, reliability of vendors, and most importantly customer support. Vendors in such a crisis may not survive if they don’t have these aspects provided to clients.

To continue enabling learning for our virtual workforce, we have crafted and adapted our programs and delivery and established as well as expanded virtual live learning. Digital and virtual learning programs were already in our curriculum before we were COVID-19 struck, and we see a marked increase in such learning programs. We have refreshed our current competency model and brought in a new learning management system that creates a holistic ecosys-

What is your advice for leaders who continue to struggle in approaching people management with empathy? Can technology play a role here? Recognize employees for their hard work, that’s the best thing to do. It’s crucial to acknowledge the stress factors as well as the workload. In addition to calling out stress and making resources available to mitigate it, be sure to show gratitude, empathy, and appreciation for the contribution of your employees.


When HRD has a bad reputation The government’s decision to change the name of the ministry has nothing to do with HR’s current bad reputation but it is time for HR to rebuild its reputation By Jeffrey Pfeffer & M Muneer

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Rethinking HR’s primary function

HR needs a broader and more assertive perspective on its fundamental role to ensure the development and maintenance of workplaces that serve to effectively attract, retain, and motivate employees. Such workplaces would obviously need to be free of bullying, and abuse of any kind, including harassment based on sex, religion, caste, or whatever. They would also need to be, to the extent possible, free from stress and conducive

hr

tally serious – but solvable – complaint surfaced in The Atlantic. The charge: that HR was failing at one of its core missions: To reduce the incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace. HRD saw its role as “protecting the company” and was doing so by limiting legal liability and making complaints – and complainants – disappear. Recall also how an allegation of sexual harassment against an SC judge was disposed of in 2019?

st r a t e g i c

he President of India has recently endorsed the name change of the Human Resources Ministry to Ministry of Education. For years, the HR department has been the favorite spot for every employee to throw criticism at. Is the government decision the final endorsement of its bad reputation? Rewind to more than two decades: Tom Stewart, the Fortune editor then, suggested that instead of improving HR, the department should be abolished, eliminated, or nuked. Interestingly, the public opinion hasn’t changed all that much since. The complaints detailed in numerous articles often focus on bureaucracy and inefficiency; on processes that do not add real value, such as those dreaded performance appraisals; and HRD’s burdening of line managers with rules and paperwork that hinder leaders’ ability to do their jobs effectively. But in the summer of 2019, a more fundamen-

to increasing employee wellbeing. To accomplish this, HR needs to be willing, regardless of the political climate inside the organization, to address the fundamental causes of corporate misbehaviour and punish the wrongdoers. By doing so, HR will reduce the toll – financial, legal, emotional, or moral – exacted by these actions. More importantly, by taking the lead in creating a healthy culture, HR will have fixed the root causes of bullying and harassment that have persisted for far too long. The problem is that nothing has changed. A 2007 book by Bob Sutton, The No Asshole Rule detailed the enormous cost – to people, from stress and ill health, and to companies, from turnover and reduced productivity – that occurred in abusive workplaces where bosses belittled, harassed and screamed at subordinates. In 2017, Sutton published a follow-up, The Asshole Survival Guide, because, sadly, very little had changed in 10 years, despite all published details of negative outcomes. Meanwhile, in spite of decades of training, sexual december 2020 |

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harassment remains a pervasive workplace issue globally. However, very few cases get reported due to stigma and fear. Between 20142017 there has been a 54% rise in legally registered sexual harassment cases in India. Other findings: 70 percent of harassment victims never talk to a supervisor about it, and about 90 percent never file a formal complaint. And for good reason: Sexual harassment reporting is often followed by organizational indifference, as well as hostility and reprisals against the victim. Where is HR in all of this? It is alleged that HR is actually quite successful at dealing with sexual harassment – by creating templates of compliance designed to defend companies against lawsuits! Because HR is often seen as taking the company’s side, few people trust it to represent their interests. Taking the company’s side may preserve an HR manager’s job for the time being, but it will not contribute to creating workplaces that ultimately breed success. By covering up serious issues, punishing the people who complained, and supporting senior management, HR isn’t actually serving the companies’ interests at all.

Is HR really a bad word? It is time for HR to rebuild

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| december 2020

its reputation. The #MeToo movement is not going to disappear. And many younger workers are less tolerant of bad bosses and workplace stress than their seniors. Bad behavior tolerated in a workplace is likely to lead to more bad behavior. People learn by observing what others do and the consequences of that behavior. Simply put, workplaces are not going to get better on their own. Second, we know the toll – in physical and mental

beneficial thing that HR can do is to push for the \ sanctioning of people who harass others. Set hiring and promotion standards that do not excuse bad behavior by pointing to other contributions. Measure the extent of bullying and other forms of abuse through anonymous surveys, and bring those measures to the attention of top management. And yes, be willing to leave organizations that are unwilling to take the steps required to create work-

HR needs a broader and more assertive perspective on its fundamental role to ensure the development and maintenance of workplaces that serve to effectively attract, retain, and motivate employees health, turnover, and productivity – that toxic workplaces exact. Gender and caste discrimination, through their creation of stress, affect the health of people exposed to it. Third, we know that the laws against harassment and bullying will only be strengthened to enforce employees’ rights to a workplace free of intimidation. Therefore, the best thing HR can do to help their employers is not to continue to help those employers dodge liability. The most productive, economically

places free of abuse. When HR begins to more forcefully advocate for healthier, less toxic workplaces, organizations will experience increased levels of engagement and greater retention of talent. It will also be good for HR to no longer be seen as an enabler of work environments that are an anachronism currently. Jeff Pfeffer is a professor of organizational behavior at GSB, Stanford University. M Muneer is MD of CustomerLab Solutions and co-founder of the non-profit Medici Institute. Follow him on Twitter @MuneerMuh


The workplace of the future will exist on people’s own devices: Axis Bank’s HR In an exclusive interaction with us, Rajkamal Vempati, Head – Human Resources, Axis Bank sheds more light on the lessons learned from 2020, the opportunities ahead in 2021, and how we can together build a sustainable and resilient world of work By Shweta Modgil

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i n t e r v i e w

s ominous 2020 comes to an end, one thing is clearCOVID-19 is here to stay, and the future depends on a lot of unknowns. The pandemic has changed our world and our world of work permanently. From its crippling effect on world economies to the massive shift it has brought in the world of work as far acceleration of remote working and flexibility in workforce management to integration of work and life is concerned, the year has taught us much. What’s also clear is that it’s time to embark on a journey that is meaningful, purpose-driven, and people-centric. As we move into the year 2021, it’s time to reset work norms that are more human, more productive, and more inclusive. What are these key issues that HR leaders need to reweigh and plan for the year 2021? Here are the excerpts.

What are some leadership lessons taught by COVID-19? The crisis has demanded that leaders step up and embrace change like never before. Every hesitation about the constraints of working in a distributed, remote model had to be confronted and december 2020 |

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managed while dealing with this economic event that had such an impact on our businesses and their strategy. A big part of this has been to build resilience – as unlike many other crises where there is a line of sight on when it will end, this one has at times appeared infinite. Another big area of leadership development has been the ability to manage emotions, while people invited the workplace into their homes and dealt with

With the coronavirus pandemic altering the way we work; it also offered the possibility for HR and talent leaders to accelerate to digital and enable their workers to stay productive amid this chaos. What are some of the | december 2020

increasingly important. The documentation that occurs on these channels will also become the knowledge sharing mechanism that was relied on in the traditional office.

How do you think investments in HR Tech have grown this year and what do you think is going to be the trend in the coming year? HR tech will also respond to the changing work models of organizations. As we scale up our GIG-A-Opportunities program for example we see the need to ensure there is a solution that can cater to a significant part of the workforce not being in the traditional FTE (Full-time Equivalent) model. I expect that as more organizations scale up alternate work models we will need investment in existing and new solutions to cater to this need. Employee experience will be a key area of investment. face. A trend we see across As the existing workforce organizations is that these journeys – while many began adapts to new ways of workwith HR functionalities these ing and newer talent pools will now become much more begin associating with us the experience will be a key tightly coupled with busidifferentiator in terms of ness journeys and employees will need a single destina- attracting and retaining the tion for both. Another trend right talent. we see is the need to estabWhat are your thoughts lish formal channels of asynon the concept of a hybrid chronous communication. workplace? What are some As zoom and teams fatigue sets in, the need to be able challenges you foresee in to move beyond meetings as implementing a hybrid the way teams collaborate workplace? and get work done becomes At Axis, we are committed

One of our fundamental beliefs on the workplace of the future is that it will exist on people’s own devices – we call this bring your workplace to your own device, and this device is increasingly not a traditional laptop- but the mobile workplace unprecedented anxiety that blurred across family, work, and personal lines. As leaders, we have had to become compassionate and sensitive to the needs of our people while staying focused on the delivery of tasks.

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trends you have seen across organizations? One of our fundamental beliefs on the workplace of the future is that it will exist on people’s own devices – we call this bring your workplace to your own device, and this device is increasingly not a traditional laptop- but the mobile workplace. The systems that have been the tool for people to complete their daily tasks will have to be integrated into seamless employee journeys with a simple, assisted mobile inter-


attract, manage, and retain the best talent in this new model. HR will be critical to building capabilities across the employee lifecycle that enable this transformation. We need to ensure that this is a strategic advantage- not just a cost advantage for our organizations. The systems, processes, and tools that this will require are no less than any other major change program organizations have undergone in the past.

to a hybrid workplace- giving our employees flexibility while retaining the buzz, collaboration, and creativity of the traditional workplace. In our internal feedback from employees, we see they continue to be productive and would like to continue working from home for at least 2-3 days in the week. There will of course be challenges, key among them being that we have to avoid creating a twotiered workplace. The model cannot become exclusionary towards those not in the office. We also need to be sensitive to those in learning roles- starting their career who may need more consistent mentoring and

not just contact few days a week. Employees need to be enabled to build networks outside of their immediate task interactions- which may become more difficult in the hybrid workplace.

What is going to be HR’s new role post the pandemic? We are already witnessing huge changes in the way people want to work – people want flexibility. The best talent is no longer looking at organizations and career fulfillment through a 40 -50 year journey to the corner office. One of the biggest roles HR will play going forward is as the custodian of the future of work – shaping their organizations to

What do you think the year 2021 might look like as far as new skillsets and essential job skills are concerned? As work itself gets reshaped, from tasks to projects, project management will become an important skill. The ability to view an organizational imperative and translate it into actionable, distribute those, and keep them on task in a hybrid model of working will require new communication capabilities and emotional intelligence than before. Digital and data literacy will become fundamental across functions. Another emerging area of new skills is also knowledge management where leveraging new technology the need to codify and share organizational knowledge will be fundamental to the success of organizations in the future as we move away from a 100 percent in office model. december 2020 |

i n t e r v i e w

One of the biggest roles HR will play going forward is as the custodian of the future of work – shaping their organizations to attract, manage, and retain the best talent in this new model

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Chelsea Perino

The changing demand for office space

The New Workplace

The pandemic has permanently altered how we think about offices – as companies reassess their real estate needs, it is bound to have a lasting change in the modern organization

C

OVID-19 has fundamentally challenged and changed the way we, as a global workforce, interact, socialize, and collaborate. Flexible working practices, including working from home, have been readily adopted as the coronavirus pandemic has forced a trial run of remote working for industries, businesses, and individuals across the world. As a result, sentiments towards office space, its value, role, and contribution to the operation of daily work tasks are now being re-evaluated by employees and employers. While

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the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards integrating flexible workspaces into corporate real estate portfolios, the fear that the office will lose its relevance is not realistic; rather than becoming obsolete, it will become an increasingly valuable asset in facilitating collaboration and driving business growth. As one of the first cities to shift to a working from home model to curb the spread of COVID-19, Hong Kong is no stranger to the needs of adopting flexible working practices as many in the workforce today have experienced epidemics such as the SARS of 2003. However, as COVID-19 has struck the world internationally, this time the dynamics of work have changed for even larger multinational corporates, and established traditional businesses have been challenged.

Flexible working and the workplace

Many tasks can be accomplished remotely without a significant drop in productivity or quality. While virtual conferencing and teleconferences can provide an intermediate solution to in-person interactions and meet-


responsive admin support, and a highly productive working environment that boosts concentration and minimizes distractions. Conversely, prolonged lack of access to these elements may result in inefficiencies and frustration; as many people that have been working from home discovered, in an environment that is not optimized for ergonomics and productivity, such as a busy café, or a dimly lit bedroom turned make-shift office, productivity is negatively affected.

Companies are now reassessing their real estate needs While many companies still want the collaborative atmosphere that the physical office provides, they

A “hub and spoke” model or “flexand-core” strategy may become a commonplace approach for businesses of all sizes and industries in the future

december 2020 |

The New Workplace

ings, over time, face-to-face interaction is required to facilitate collaboration, build relationships, solve complex challenges, and generate ideas. Most employees, especially those with long commute times, or those that intrinsically travel a lot for their field of work, appreciate having the flexibility and autonomy of having the choice of where and when to work. On the flip side, many workers have discovered that continuous remote work extends the workday, diffuses work-life boundaries, and can ultimately impact mental wellbeing, working relationships, and motivation. In fact, from leadership and human resources standpoint, many questions have been raised about a fall in morale for employees and issues of loneliness that arise from long periods of working from home. Moreover, it is easier for employees to collaborate on projects when they have access to better facilities, robust IT infrastructure,

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isn’t industry-specific. From ‘traditional industries’ such as finance or law, to more creative industries like art & design, communications, advertising, or media, all are rethinking how the office can positively impact their business. With this changing function of the office space, traditional leases with long rental periods are coming into question, and companies are turning to lease agreements that provide more flexibility as a solution to supplement their traditional real estate portfolios.

The New Workplace

What to expect in 2021?

On the flip side, many workers have discovered that continuous remote work extends the workday, diffuses work-life boundaries, and can ultimately impact mental wellbeing, working relationships, and motivation also desire the advantages that flexible practices offer to support remote working for their employees and clients. That being said, the purpose of an office as a space where people can meet, collaborate, share ideas, and nurture innovation is still vital for many businesses. As companies reassess their real estate needs, the function and role of office space is changing; shifting away from a productivity-based model, the office role is evolving to focus on the people – its values comes as a hub to facilitate meetings and gatherings. And this shift

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To meet the changing demand for office space requirements, a hybrid model is likely to emerge where businesses will take up flexible working practices and flexible workspace solutions to enhance their pre-existing company work culture to balance the efficiencies gained by remote work. A “hub and spoke” model or “flex-and-core” strategy may become a commonplace approach for businesses of all sizes and industries in the future. By combining traditional and flexible real estate in a company’s portfolio, employees can benefit from the opportunity and freedom to spend a mix of time in the office and at home – thereby increasing agility, mobility, and flexibility of the workforce. What is more, companies may change the way they take up space; many adopt this flexand-core strategy to minimize risk when expanding their local and global footprint as we move into a “new normal”. The advan-


tage of this being that flexible workspaces can provide shorter lease terms that can be tailored and negotiated according to headcount and actual space required without having to lock into a longterm inflexible contract.

Industry based shifts

The rise of virtual offices

Finally, in evidence of the changing sentiments and evolving role of the office space, we have seen a significant increase in the demand for Virtual Offices post-June 2020. This growth has stemmed mainly from smaller companies that have given up their office space and decided to work-from-home long term, and

from new companies that have opened during the pandemic and are operating remotely. Virtual Offices provide businesses experiencing uncertainty with a costefficient method to establish their professional presence with a business address or “shop front�. With 2021 approaching rapidly, and the impact of coronavirus and uncertainties seemingly set to continue, businesses will be seeking to reinforce their company, workforce, and portfolios with more flexible solutions to adapt to external changes rapidly. Despite all of these uncertainties, one thing for sure is that the basic social need to collaborate and interact in person will persist regardless of what the future has in store for the evolution and changing demand of the office space.

The New Workplace

Already we can see examples of MNC clients dividing up their teams into small groups and assigning them across different flexible workspaces to ensure employee safety and to minimize costs. Businesses have shifted away from traditional office models and taken up or incorporated flexible solutions; these industries, such as Information Technology, Financial Services & Banking, Consulting, Real Estate & Property Management, Education, Legal Services, Biotech, and Medical, are all leaning on the flexible model to help future-proof their business. These sectors primarily deal with knowledge-based work, and for their daily operations, a vast majority of their work can be done remotely as long robust infrastructure, connectivity and administrative support are available to link collaborators together.

Chelsea Perino is the Managing Director, Global Marketing & Communications, The Executive Centre december 2020 |

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HR T e c h n o l o g y

The state of HR Technology

Investment & Expectations How did COVID-19 shape the investments and expectations in HR technology this year? Here are the top trends from the findings of our recent study, ‘State of HR Technology in 2020: Investments and Expectations' By Anushree Sharma 130

| december 2020


K.A. Narayan, President HR, Raymond Limited

a self-service BOT, Recruitment, and Leave Management modules.” If "necessity is the mother of invention", the COVID19 pandemic forced many organizations around the world to rethink and accelerate their digital transformation journeys which also led to increased investments in HR tech. The crisis forced digital transformation initiatives of organizations to fast-forward into the future of work where tech innovations especially remote technology solutions have become a must-have. To take a good look at HR transformation at the strategic and tactical levels, we conducted a survey: 'State of HR Technology in 2020: Investments and Expectations'. One of the key insights from the study was that for many years, we have looked at technology as a threat and have been constantly training ourselves to understand it and cope with the changes it is bringing in. But now the tables have turned. Instead of people adapting to technology, the scenario now is that technology is being customized to adapt to people’s needs. Here are the top trends emerging from our study, 'State of HR Technology in 2020: Investments and Expectations': december 2020 |

HR T e c h n o l o g y

T

he speed at which workplace technology has evolved over recent decades has been startling, but with the new forces, including the novel Coronavirus, we are now entering a period – and pace – of change that will put entirely new pressures on organizations. When employees were sent home from their offices en masse amid the global onset of COVID-19, many businesses scrambled to adopt

technology solutions to enable their teams to work remotely. According to the Gartner 2020 Digital Workplace Survey, 68 percent of respondents agreed that more C-level executives have expressed involvement in the digital workplace since the pandemic began. While conducting this study, we also spoke to K.A. Narayan – President HR, Raymond Limited, who shared his insights based on his organization’s perspective. He said, “Technology in HR is still at a very nascent stage and is evolving fast to meet the demands of the digital future. However, during the pandemic, we quickly adapted to WFH and provided the required digital bandwidth and infrastructure. Employees are now accessing all applications remotely. Further, in the last few months, the company has migrated to a new ERP which has Talent Management, Performance Management, Succession,

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HR T e c h n o l o g y

With the impact of the pandemic, HR tech investment is increasingly being done by keeping the focus on employees and not on HR administration

The technology revolution is no more about job displacement, and machines taking over humans. It is, in fact, the age of human empowerment with technology. In a true sense, the role of technology has evolved to enabling efficiency, productivity, and developing people to reach their full potential. There is a rising focus on employee experience! Reason to invest in HR Technology

27% Developing people to reach their full potential

24% Improving efficiency

and productivity level

a lot of creative videos made by our associates on our social networking sites to reach out to our employees and their families. We also created tech platforms for message exchanges, meetings, and catching up. Technology enables all these changes seamlessly.”

L&D is going to be the most tech-enabled function

Our research also shows that the pandemic forced a lot of organizations to invest in HR tech and this has led to 75% of the L&D function becoming tech-enabled. K.A. Narayan added, “ For the next two years, Raymond’s focus will be on Learning & Development and leadership development – using technology to digitize on-the-job learning.” Technology

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Adding on to how tech enables a seamless employee experience, Rajneesh Gupta, Senior Vice President – Human Resource, Honda India Power Products Ltd. shared, “We came up with practices to address fears of employees, all undertaken through technology for trust-building, safety provisions. We also did awareness sessions and uploaded | december 2020

Wellness is on the agenda but companies still don’t see it as a tech-driven function We see a significant investment in employee wellness when we compare the preCOVID era with the current times. The investment in wellness technologies has

Pre COVID-19 (more than 75% techenabled)

COVID-19 (more than 75% techenabled)

Post-COVID-19 (more than 75%techenabled)

L&D

20%

48%

59%

Employee Engagement

11%

40%

40%

C&B

20%

40%

52%

R&R

13%

30%

41%

Employer Branding

15%

36%

44%

Communication & Collaboration

21%

48%

52%

Wellness

16%

32%

35%

14% Improving employee engagement & experience

Overall, there is an increase in the investment in HR tech for all functions namely, Talent Acquisition, Performance Management, HRIS, HR Operations, etc. and this investment is set to increase in the next 12-24 months. During lockdown/COVID19, L&D (61%) was the area with maximum investment, followed by Communication & Collaboration (49%), Employee Engagement (42%), and Wellness (41%)


Technology

Wellness

Pre COVID-19 (more than 75% tech-enabled)

COVID-19 (more than 75% techenabled)

Post-COVID-19 (more than 75%techenabled)

16%

32%

35%

doubled! However, postCOVID-19, there is only an increment of three percent when it comes to making wellness a completely (or at least 75%) tech-enabled function.

User experience and not the cost is the leading parameter while investing in a technology

HR technology impacts each and every employee in the

Features

Very Important

User Experience & Engagement

70%

Integration

60%

Cost

58%

Flexibility

54%

Simplicity

49%

Collaboration

42%

december 2020 |

HR T e c h n o l o g y

Overall, there is an increase in the investment in HR tech for all functions namely, Talent Acquisition, Performance Management, HRIS, HR Operations, etc. and this investment is set to increase in the next 12-24 months

organization. This means that once the technology is bought and deployed, HR has to ensure that each and every employee uses the technology tools made available for the implementation to be successful. And that has long been the Achilles heel for many HR technology implementations. And hence, user experience and engagement is one of the key aspects to make sure that you get ROI out of the investment. Rajneesh shared, “We are a 35-year-old organization that has a mixed ratio of both youth and senior personnel in our company. Keeping this in mind, we must invest in technology that is easily understood by all and is complementary to our company processes. It is our endeavor to look for options that are easy to learn and adapt to, so the employees do not feel challenged and can effectively contribute to projects. At the same time, we must ensure that a technology platform is secure and offers immediacy. Our motto under this is Secure. Speed. Simple.� The study also found that about 80 percent of the organizations that participated in the survey are planning to increase their investment in HR technology in 2021.

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Past Month's events

Knowledge + Networking

Identifying the qualities of successful entrepreneurs People Matters and Central Test 26th November 2020 Online Some will tell you that there are clear types of entrepreneurs, whereas others would say that there is no typical entrepreneurial profile. Either way, an entrepreneur must demonstrate key competencies and skills in order to succeed in their projects and endeavors. This webinar discussed the importance of having an entrepreneurial approach today and understanding the psychometric tests that can assess these qualities.

The Working-from-Home Facilitator Certification Mastertrack People Matters BeNext Program 9th - 13th November 2020 Online The Virtual Learner: This specialist course covers everything you need to know to create impactful online learning sessions. Content includes icebreakers, how to design remote learning materials, breakout sessions, and continuous engagement.

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Remote Hiring Week 2020 People Matters and AuthBridge 23rd - 27th November 2020 Online Helping talent and business leaders understand the ongoing revolution in remote hiring and its many key components that are critical in the journey from sustenance to recovery, People Matters and AuthBridge brought together the #RemoteHiringWeek2020. It was a week full of learnings, best practices, and interactions on how the various elements of remote hiring are shaping the future of the talent landscape.

The Working-from-Home Facilitator Certification Mastertrack People Matters BeNext Program 2nd - 6th November 2020 Online The Virtual Team: In this deep dive program, you will become more familiar with how to effectively lead, manage and design online meetings for all types of events including small to large meetings and town halls. You will learn about best practices for managing content, delivery, and on-going audience participation.

The Working-from-Home Facilitator Certification Mastertrack People Matters BeNext Program 16th - 20th November 2020 Online The Virtual Coach gives you the skills to help have more productive remote conversations, including regular coaching and challenging conversations such as performance coaching and implementing remote performance improvement plans.

“Top Jobs in India" A Hiring Week to help people find jobs People Matters & Indeed 2nd - 6th November 2020 Online Indeed & People Matters bring to you, “Top Jobs in India" - A Hiring Week to help people find jobs. The week showcases India’s top organizations hiring actively now. Hear from top leaders and apply to top jobs in India from the convenience of your home. The top organizations which are part of this campaign are: Capgemini, VMWare, 247ai, UST Global, GSK, Jubilant Foodworks Ltd., and more.


Upcoming events Reset workplace experience – How to prepare for a hybrid world of work

Creating new value for business through skilling People Matters & Degreed 9th December 2020 Online Businesses across the globe had to take new initiatives or revamp their existing plans in order to survive in the new normal. Skilling has been the most important aspect in the organizations for all. Take a look at how it can create new value for businesses through new and improved learning initiatives.

People Matters &

Momenta 2nd December 2020 Online In this webcast in collaboration with the Momenta Group, we will delve into what measures can be taken by organizations to arrest this trend, leveraging flexible and virtual teams to harness the power of women in building a high performing global workforce for tomorrow and the role which futuristic talent models can play in building high performance teams.

Creating new value for business through skilling People Matters & Harappa 15th December 2020 Online The year 2020 was nothing but a rollercoaster ride for all organizations across various industries. The dependency on technology and automation will keep on increasing. But many find it a little difficult to plan their way out.

The digital workplace of 2021 and beyond SAP SuccessFactors & People Matters 3rd December 2020, 11 am- 12:15 pm Online The digital workplace of 2021 and beyond' will delve into the details of how organizations unravel the digital workplace trends in 2021 and can improve the digital resiliency of the workforce.

Preparing for the upcoming 'Skills Shift' People Matters & Degreed 17th December 2020 Online The new world of work that we are catering to is seeing new shifts everyday. Organizations need to be all armed for these shifts and ensuring that it does not affect the business continuity and employee productivity. Keeping the employees updated with the current skills set requirement is the need of the hour. But are organizations game for it?

december 2020 |

Knowledge + Networking

People Matters & Microsoft 1st December 2020 Online This virtual roundtable with Microsoft will discuss the required parameters for preparing for a hybrid world of work and seek from industry experts/leaders about their experience in helping them up to their game amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harnessing the Power of Women: Building Highperformance teams

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Blogosphere

>> Robert Ehrmantraut

How you can you benefit from an AI transformed workforce

The outcomes of AI transformed workforce are improved productivity, better customer experience, and enhanced employee engagement. It also results in a faster and efficient means of obtaining useful insights from big data

b lo g o s p he r e

solutions to complex challenges, and otherwise concentrate on completing core tasks. Here are some of the benefits you can reap from an AI transformed workforce.

An uptick in productivity

A

I continues to gain massive popularity and widespread adoption as the technology evolves. Technology is not only bettering our daily lives at home through personalized online shopping recommendations and intelligent virtual assistants but also transforming the workplace. It can handle manual and repetitive tasks throughout the company, freeing up the modern workforce to exercise creativity, find lifelong

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One of the most notable benefits of an AI transformed workforce is the enhanced productivity it offers your business. AI frees employees from repetitive and mindless tasks, providing them with more time to handle important work, solve problems, and make use of their creativity. Chatbots are perfect examples of AI-operated tools capable of increasing productivity in the workplace. They are a musthave for a workforce that has daily, direct engagements with customers and depends on quick, accurate, and reliable customer support. They gather information and document customer complaints, significantly reducing the manual time required to handle these tasks.


AI-powered chatbots don’t entirely take full control of customer support. Instead, they handle redundant tasks and allow customer service reps to excel at their jobs. In addition to chatbots, other AI tools leverage behavioral science to aid customer support reps in offering unparalleled support. The outcome is enhanced productivity, satisfied employees, and greater profitability for your business.

A streamlined onboarding and training process

Transforming complex data into actionable insights Data is the lifeblood of any competitive business. Once you collect data, you’ll need to have

AI training tools acquire their coaching abilities by first monitoring how different workers perform particular tasks. These tools then can take new team members through the steps of completing those tasks

december 2020 |

b lo g o sp he r e

AI training tools acquire their coaching abilities by first monitoring how different workers perform particular tasks. These tools then can take new team members through the steps of completing those tasks. They can also train existing employees on the best methods of doing things more quickly and efficiently. Chorus is an excellent example of a coaching technology. It evaluates calls as they are happening and provides sales reps with actionable tips to help them control the pace of meetings and

employ the most-reliable messaging. It also documents all sales calls and puts together statistics for every sales rep, offering each person the tools they require to convert leads into sales and carry out more successful calls. AI can also be an important part of your succession planning. The powerful analytics realized through the technology can help you identify characters that make one an appropriate future leader. After the identification, you can train and mentor them from an early phase.

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service and making wise business decisions.

b lo g o s p he r e

Recruitment and management of global workforce

it analyzed to obtain valuable insights. With an AI transformed workforce, you’ll have all the necessary tools and skillset to decipher your data and obtain meaningful insights. With AI tools that offer big data insights, you can: • Discover crucial shifts in patterns • Isolate trends • Generate comprehensive reports to help you see if your business is on the right track • Carry out in-depth content analysis and perform evidencebacked reasoning • Unearth any shifts in consumer habits that may impact your company’s bottom line • Forecast what major business metrics your company must track to improve performance

Manually setting up a team for global expansion can be timeconsuming, costly, and bothersome. But with numerous AI-powered tools out there, bringing international talents onboard is increasingly becoming a less stressful experience. AI automates repetitive tasks like scheduling interviews and keeping applicants updated on the status of their job application. This frees up your employees in the HR department to engage job seekers on a deeper level. In addition to investing in AI-powered tools, you can also work with a global PEO service like the New Horizons Global Partners to assist you in hiring and managing your global teams. With their international PEO and staffing services, you’ll tap into the Asian labor market and add the best talent to your global team without having to set up a local subsidiary. Overall, the outcomes of AI transformed workforce are improved productivity, better customer experience, and enhanced employee engagement. It also results in a faster and efficient means of obtaining useful insights from big data. Sources:

Getting valuable insights from data used to be a time-consuming and effort-intensive process. But with AI, it has become faster and more efficient. This allows workers to dedicate their efforts towards enhancing customer 138

| december 2020

• How Artificial Intelligence is transforming the E-commerce Industry: Medium.com • What Is a Chatbot?: Oracle • How Artificial Intelligence transform employee training: elearning industry.com ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Robert Ehrmantraut is a technology advisor.


RNI Details: Vol. XI, Issue No. 12, R.N.I. No. HARENG/2010/33504. Price Per Copy: Rs. 150/- Printed and Published by Mahesh Kumar on behalf of People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Published at 501, 5th Floor, Millennium Plaza, Tower A, Sushant Lok-1, Sector-27, Gurgaon - 122009, Haryana, India. Printed at Polykam Offset, C-138, Phase - I, Naraina Industrial Area, New Delhi - 110028. Editor: Esther Martinez Hernandez

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People Matters : Post COVID-19 World of Work - December 2020  

Are You Set for 2021 and Beyond? The dystopian 2020 is coming to an end — but not the virus. Epidemiologists, constructing projections and...

People Matters : Post COVID-19 World of Work - December 2020  

Are You Set for 2021 and Beyond? The dystopian 2020 is coming to an end — but not the virus. Epidemiologists, constructing projections and...