People Matters Magazine December 2021: Work in 2022 What's Next

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Chief Human Capital Officer, Agility Group

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Executive Vice President, People & Sustainability at Soitec

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What lies ahead in 2022?


or the last two years, businesses have been striving hard to continue to adapt to the new realities and emerge from the crisis in a stronger position. The journey is still on with business leaders now scrambling to figure out how the COVID-19 Omicron variant could impact their workplaces, including return-to-office plans. However, the year 2021 saw the advancement of many positive trends and transformations including the continuing acceleration of digital innovations, the strong focus on employee well-being, the shift to multiple modes of | DECEMBER 2021

flexible working, and most importantly, how companies increasingly realise the power of creating peoplecentric organisations that value employees’ sense of belonging as much as the bottom line. Now, as we move towards 2022, the big question is how organisations can sustain these changes and build upon their transformations to create a world of work that is technologically enabled, more humane, more flexible, and more agile in reacting to uncertainties. Most successful organisations today are well ahead in the application of principles that proved valuable even before the pandemic. They have demonstrated the power of long-term planning, focusing on a steady and inclusive forward path that holds a space open for employees and communities alike. A willingness to adapt and reinvent has made these organisations well positioned to ride the waves of change, from digitalisation to the humanising of the larger employee value proposition. For these organisations, HR holds a more strategic role than ever before. Thought leaders and analysts have said for months that the pandemic years are the years of the CHRO just as the years of the financial crisis were

the years of the CFO. The prediction continues to be borne out. HR leaders and their teams are upskilling themselves, leveraging technology to carve out platforms in their job roles to create ever greater impact in business. They are shifting out of the back room and into the thick of the business. In 2022, we can expect to see employers investing more deeply into managing the impact of hybrid work. Companies will reinvent their approach to performance management and review the way leadership and managers are trained and prepared. Robust workplace technologies will be matched with comprehensive change management strategies, including an ongoing emphasis on learning and development to ensure that no workers are left behind. Well-being and burnout issues will only continue increasing in importance as employers seek better, more peoplecentric ways of empowering employees to do their jobs. The December 2021 issue of our magazine sheds light on all this and more with inputs from global leaders including EXL’s CHRO Nalin Miglani, famous futurist Jacob Morgan, Boston University’s Professor N. Venkat Venkatraman, and Dr. Susan Chen of Riot Games.

five new courses in the coming months. Women in Leadership: Lead, Influence & Transform (6 December to 14 January); Talent Analytics: Driving Organisational Impact (24 January to 25 February, Spanishlanguage course available); The HR Business Partner in the New World of Work (7 February to 11 March, Spanish-language course available); Well-being: the Road to Resilience (21 February to 25 March); and Designing Employee Experience in the New World of Work (7 March to 8 April). You can reach out to hi@ for more information and to enroll. People Matters BeNext has shown us all, over the past year, how interconnected community and learning are. Now that we have extended our virtual learning programmes to leaders in Spanish-speaking countries, we anticipate even greater levels of diversity, inclusion, and community development upon the platform. As always, we welcome your views, comments, and suggestions regarding our stories. Happy Reading!


Change the font, the colour, the background and the year, rest it’s perfect!

From the Editor’s Desk

In our Big Interview for this issue, we hear from Toby Switzer, Chief Human Capital Officer of the Agility Group, on some of these strategies, especially the critical need to find, recruit, develop, and retain the right talent that global companies need. He explains why it's so important to focus on a company's existing workforce, rather than pursuing hiring alone as a talent strategy. Meanwhile, our Special Interview features Pascal Lobry, Executive Vice President, People & Sustainability at Soitec, who talks about the factors that make a company competitive in a tight labour market and the points of workplace culture that, while non-quantifiable, affect the company's ability to execute its strategies. We also have feature stories examining researchers’ predictions for 2022 trends, and what collaborations business leaders hope to have with their HR counterparts in the coming year. Stay tuned for our next Futurist Forum, the Masterclass on architecting the future of work. The India edition will happen on 8 March; the ANZ edition on 9 March; and the SEA edition on 10 March. More details will be released soon. People Matters BeNext, our cohort-based certification programme, launches

Done :)!

Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor-in-Chief follow

M > @Ester_Matters F > estermartinez > DECEMBER 2021 |



DECEMBER 2021 volume x i i i ssue 1 2



This is the time to reframe our

assumptions about work

Venkat Venkatraman, David J. McGrath Jr. Professor of Management at Boston University




cover story

2021 was filled with the shifts and uncertainties of the pandemic. It’s time to build upon the positive transformations and prepare for the challenges ahead to shape a meaningful pathway into the coming year Editor-in-Chief

Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor & New Product Content Strategist (Global)

Mastufa Ahmed

Marta Martinez

Editor & New Product Content Strategist Senior Editor

Rachel Ranosa Features Writer

Mint Kang

Jerry Moses

Senior Manager - Research & Content Strategist - APAC

Anushree Sharma

Manager - design, photography, and production

Shweta Modgil

Senior Manager - Research and Content Strategy - APAC


2022: Are you on trend?

Nalin Kumar Miglani, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer at Exlservice Hldgs Inc

Rising focus on sustainability, investment in automation: Forrester’s top business predictions for Europe in 2022 We might see a tight labour market again in a few months

Bjorn Jarvis, Head of Labour Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics


It is not about the leap but about the lunge in 2022

Shweta Modgil


The EX trends to keep an eye on in 2022

Jacob Morgan, 4x Best-Selling Author, Speaker, & Futurist

Y Shekar, Management research scholar (Ph.D.) from University of Mysore




What did we learn from 2021?

Clinton Wingrove, Principal Consultant, Clinton HR Ltd

What we want most from HR in 2022: The business leaders speak

Mint Kang

Digital Head

Prakash Shahi Design & Production

Shinto Kallattu

Senior Manager - Global Sales & Partnerships

Assistant Manager - Content - APAC

Saloni Gulati +91 (124) 4148102

Assistant Manager - Content Projects & APAC Community Lead


Drishti Pant

Neelanjana Mazumdar

Content Manager and Lead - D&I

Bhavna Sarin

Senior Associates - Content

Sudeshna Mitra Asmaani Kumar


Sumali Das Purkyastha Published by

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Note to the readers The views expressed in articles are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of People Matters. Although all efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the content, neither the editors nor the publisher can take

This issue of People matters contains 87 pages including cover


big interview

special interview


Focus on your people's needs, and they will respond by meeting yours

How the Great Resignation can become the 'Great Recruitment'

Toby Switzer, Chief

Pascal Lobry, Executive Vice President, People & Sustainability at Soitec By Mastufa Ahmed

Human Capital Officer, Agility Group By Mastufa Ahmed

22 E S G

Executive rewards should be a catalyst for corporate action on climate

By Shai Ganu, Managing Director and Global Leader for Executive Compensation, Willis Towers Watson


32 Learning & Development

Creating a collaborative environment for employee well-being

By Craig Goldblatt, Vice President of Partners & Alliances for Globalization Partners business in Asia. In this capacity, he is responsible for ANZ partnership initiative as well as help the company to drive APAC wide partnerships

63 I n t erv i e w

Family businesses can bolster economic growth, but the tight labour market is a big challenge

Sally Craig, GM People & Culture Kennards Hire By Drishti Pant

66 D a t a & a n a l y t i cs

The rise of People Analytics

By Soumyasanto Sen, Digital HR, Transformation & People Analytics leader. Soumya is the founder of the Frankfurt-based advisory firm People Conscience.

68 I n t erv i e w

Challenge assumptions before reinventing organisations

Dr. Susan Chen, Director, Head of People-HK &SG Game Development Studios, Riot Games By Asmaani Kumar

72 S t r a t e g y

Change Agenda: Metrics and targets that drive both performance and behaviour

By Dr M Muneer, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist at the non-profit Medici Institute

76 The road less travelled


02 From the Editor’s Desk 06 Letters of the month 08 Quick Reads 13 Rapid Fire 82 Knowledge + Networking 84 Blogosphere

Diversity delivers dividends

By Visty Banaji, Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC) Featured In this issue Bjorn Jarvis Ian Lee Pascal Lobry

Dr. Susan Chen Toby Switzer Venkat Venkatraman

CONTRIBUTORS to this issue Alfred Lee Clinton Wingrove Craig Goldblatt Gordon Watson Jacob Morgan Dr M Muneer Michael Engle

Nalin Kumar Miglani Sally Craig Shai Ganu Soumyasanto Sen Toby Rakison Visty Banaji Y Shekar



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Letters of the month

Well-being initiatives that come from the CEO's office work best Interesting to see how leaders are increasingly acknowledging the need for well-being to go beyond occasional programs. Well-being was mistaken as a new term for fun at work, and organisations that did that, learnt of its consequences. Well-being indeed goes beyond stress buster conversations. It makes way for real conversations around real challenges and addressing them. Especially the five elements that matter most: career, social, financial, physical, and emotional. From safeguarding physical wellness to destigmatising mental health to securing financial well-being, and more recently, fostering a sense of community and capability building. This shift can only be made possible when it indeed comes from the CEO's office and becomes an everyday reality through line managers. - Saroj Mehra

The evolving employee benefits landscape

“It isn’t too late to engineer a culture of well-being by design.” A significant number of organisations across the globe have abided by this and upped their benefits philosophy and offerings. A holistic benefits package, addressing the physical, emotional and financial needs of employees, is a bare minimum to attract talent today. It’s not about worklife balance, but efficient and productive work-life integration, and how organisational infrastructure, policies and culture supports that. The past 20 months have provided employers with a rare chance to reassess and revamp benefits to suit evolving employee preferences. Organisations that desire to stay ahead of the curve have taken a cue and enabled the shift. - Lata Kiran



nOVEMBER 2021 issue

A critical moment for leaders to make conscious efforts to tackle employee ‘burnout’

Global circumstances intensified by local limitations have driven the rise of burnout like never before. While employers try to respond to an already worsening burnout situation, it helps to revisit how we can alter workplace practices to embed healthier ways of working. It is irrational to expect to continue older ways of working in today’s context. The workforce has been adapted to working in ways they never did before, it is high time organisations make necessary changes to adapt to today’s needs as well. - bINOY aUGUSTINE

Interact with People Matters

By default, things happen; By design, we make things happen

- Gyaneshwar Laishram

Take advantage of the biggest reframing moment for careers and work in our lifetime This moment in time is indeed a great opportunity to pause and reframe how we look at work and careers. If you haven’t done that yet, you might still have some time before you get wrapped in the older ways while the global ecosystem leaps to a renewed landscape. COVID-19 has disrupted work and at the same time presented an opportunity to pave the way for the new, and in this new, talent holds the power to shape their career in the direction they choose. The age of linear movements is long gone. - aNINDITA bANERJEE

Recognising the role of men in driving gender parity

I came across an interesting quote a while ago - ‘A whole generation worked to empower women, but forgot to teach men how to live with empowered women’. Here’s the thing, equity is not just about empowering women, but also enabling men to embrace that shift in dynamic and environment. It is absolutely critical to highlight the role of men in driving gender parity. Women empowerment cannot take place on the back of return to workplace programs and inclusive policies alone. There is a need to empower men to shoulder caregiving responsibilities, as well as normalise availing flexible working options. Gender parity comes not from siloed programs, but a collective shift in outlook. - aSHA bENNO

Keeping employees happy amid a changing industry It sure is essential to keep in mind, essentially amid a changing industry, that the emphasis on people should not go away. Employers struggle to understand where and how to begin when it comes to shaping employee well-being, and in the broader context, employee experience today. Amid a tight labour market and disruptive working climate, understanding how to keep people happy is a rather challenging task, but one that remains key to organisational health and performance. - bABITA aLICK

1Kosmos @1KosmosBlockID Read our CSO, Mike Engle's, recent @ PeopleMatters2 article to learn how to digitally transform your new hire onboarding for a secure and seamless experience. #infosec #cybersecurity #futureofwork #remotework Xpheno @Xpheno_ "The expansion of the India Development Center in Noida is our continued effort to empower every person and every organisation on this planet to achieve more.", says @rajivkjayaswal, M.D & Corporate V.P, @ microsoftidc, at @PeopleMatters2. BlueJeans by Verizon @BlueJeansNet .@ShwetaMod shares highly effective ways to support the "deskless" workers who make up 80% of the workforce. via @ PeopleMatters2 #leadership #RemoteWork PayPal India @PayPalIN “Managers need to decipher the unsaid and develop intrinsic and deep observational skills” says our Dir @v_jayanthi on how managers can effectively communicate with their teams. @PeopleMatters2 @HarappaEd

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Very well articulated. What SMART is to goals, DESIGN is to well-being. Several well-being programs are put in place by organisations that continue to struggle with participation and impact. Even well-intended well-being interventions often fall short on engagement, which is where design is crucial. The only element that I would add to this design is ED, Enabled and Demonstrated by leadership. When it comes to embedding well-being in the flow of work, it is essential for leaders to have a shared understanding of the expected behaviours that deliver on that understanding.

People Matters values your feedback. Write to us with your suggestions and ideas at

Mphasis @Mphasis In an interview with @PeopleMatters2 @ SrikanthKarra01 describes the impact of emerging hybrid workplace & the role of #technology in mediating the changing face of the #employee experience. #HybridWorking #StayAhead #Mphasis Interweave Consulting Pvt Ltd @interweavein Do inclusive workplaces mean mental/ emotional well-being for employees? - article by @RuchiraGokhale - Head Consulting @interweavein .. thank you @PeopleMatters2 for the feature #mentalhealth #wellbeing #employeesatwork #interweaveconsulting follow

M > @PeopleMatters2




at Tesla for the past three years, during which supervisors and co-workers would frequently make inappropriate remarks and gestures to her and other female workers, she alleged. The lawsuit claimed that the experience was said to have induced panic attacks in Barraza, to the extent that she was afraid to return to work knowing that she could be harassed at any time with no repercussions.

Employee Experience

Tesla sued for 'rampant sexual harassment' of female staff

A woman working at a Tesla factory in California is suing the electric carmaker for its "rampant sexual harassment" of female employees, court documents revealed. Jessica Barraza, 38, described her "nightmarish" ordeal working the night shift

Compensation & Benefits

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JPMorgan to reimburse staff forced into quarantine

Employee Management

Apple asks employees to return to office from Feb 1: Report

Apple has set February 1, 2022, as the return date to office for its employees worldwide. As per a report in The Information, Apple will let employees work for up to four weeks remotely each year, as it prepares for a hybrid workplace in 2022. Referring to an internal memo sent to staff by CEO Tim Cook, the report stated that Apple wants staff to return to offices on February 1 to begin a "hybrid work pilot", under which employees will work out of the office for one or two days each week. 8


Hong Kong-based employees of global investment bank JPMorgan can avail themselves of a US$5,000 reimbursement from the company should they be required to go into quarantine after travelling overseas. The one-time reimbursement will cover personal travel for employees, at the executive director level and below, who must

comply with Hong Kong's zeroCOVID policy, according to a company memo that was first reported by The South China Morning Post.

Compensation & Benefits

No vaccination, no bonus! City mayor mandates No jab, no Christmas bonus! That's according to a city mayor in the Philippines who is pressuring staff members to get vaccinated against COVID-19. At stake is an extra 20,000 pesos, or roughly US$400, in cash given as a year-end reward to all workers. The caveat: for all employees to receive their share of the incentive, every single one of the 5,000 employees of Cebu City Hall must be vaccinated. Leave anyone out and the entire workforce will lose the bonus – even employees who have already been immunised.

HR Technology

Info Edge to invest Rs 30 Cr in HR tech firm Greytip Software

Info Edge will invest about Rs 30 Cr (just under US$4 million) in HR tech firm Greytip Software by acquiring 358,581 Series-D compulsorily convertible debentures (CCDs) having a face value of ₹836.631 (US$11.14) per Series-

D CCD. The company's total shareholding after this investment will be 28.73 per cent on

a fully converted and diluted basis, it added. With deployments at over 13,500 customers spread across 150 cities in India, Middle East and Southeast Asia, Greytip HR can now implement and process payroll in over 20 countries. More than 1.4 million payslips are generated on the platform every month. In 202021, its turnover stood at ₹41.34 crore (US$5.5 million).


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Samsung India plans on creating a robust R&D talent pool for both global and local markets by hiring over 1,000 engineers from top institutions namely IITs & BITs this year. These new hires HR Technology are expected to work in futurisUNext Learning acquires tic and highly demanded cutting Jigsaw Academy in first edge technologies such Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of year of launch Things (IoT), Machine Learning UNext Learning, the Manipal (ML), Deep Learning, networks, Group-backed edtech learning organisation, has announced that and image processing. Of these 1,000 new hires, 260 will be from it has acquired India’s leading IITs and the rest will be from data science and emerging techtop engineering colleges, includnologies institute, Jigsaw Academy. With this transaction, UNext ing BITS Pilani, NIITS, and IIITs and another 250 will be from preLearning will further strengthen placement offers, the company its higher education offerings by said. IIT Jodhadding specialised professional pur and Goa will certifications in trending domains also be added to shaping the business world today. the list this year. With this acquihire, Jigsaw Samsung has one co-founders, Gaurav Vohra and of the largest Sarita Digumarti, will join UNext concentrations of as Chief Business Officer and R&D engineers in Chief Learning Officer, respecIndia outside of tively, and all employees from its South Korea Jigsaw Academy will transition to headquarters. UNext Learning.

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Samsung R&D to hire over 1,000 engineers from IITs & BITs


UST Bengaluru plans to hire 12,000 employees by 2023

UST, a leading digital transformation solutions company has announced the expansion of the workforce in its Bengaluru, Karnataka center to over 6000 employees. The company has also added over 2000 employees since February 2020, the postpandemic era. In line with the company's accelerated growth strategy, UST Bengaluru center plans to double the number of employees to 12,000 by 2023. The global technology company is planning to expand its local presence in India to attract the best talents. DECEMBER 2021 |


newsmaker of the month

Falguni Nayar: India's richest self-made woman By Rachel Ranosa

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he stellar stock market debut of popular online beauty retailer Nykaa has minted the world's newest billionaire – and one of India's richest women. But the story of its founder goes far beyond the overnight success of any e-commerce giant the world has known. Falguni Nayar, the investment banker who took a leap of faith with the beauty venture just months after she turned 50, exemplifies the ideals of women empowerment. Falguni left the comfort zone she had built in the corporate world for 18 years – afforded by her job as Managing Director at Kotak Investment Banking – in order to navigate the disruptive world of online retail. She saw a need in the market for easily accessible and diverse beauty products, and moved quickly to close that gap. Over the years, her firm has come to lead this niche of the consumer market despite the presence of bigger players such as Amazon and Flipkart. Falguni herself embarked on that journey not simply as a business strategy. More importantly, her decision marked a new chapter in her life and career – that definitive moment of choosing to lead a business


and to break down barriers for other women and entrepreneurs. Today, Falguni is worth almost $7bn, with her success self-made and borne out of sheer hard work. Her humility, however, is what draws the world's fascination. Before Falguni launched Nykaa in 2012, her daughter Adwaita Nayar shared with her the poem "Ithaka" whose poignant lines struck a chord about the process of change and staying the course: Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you’re destined for. But don’t hurry the journey at all. Adwaita, who is CEO of the group's fashion company, also

takes after her mother's brand of thoughtful leadership. The young Nayar champions ethical fashion and sustainability. "Being conscious about the choices we make and promote is a continuous, everyday effort," Adwaita once said in an interview. "We would like to simplify the idea of sustainability for our consumers by decoding the myths surrounding ethical fashion and making it more accessible for them." It's a sign of hope for the future with the next generation of Nayars, including son Anchit, sharing in Falguni's vision of providing consumers with smarter and more diverse options. Falguni's success resonates with many, not merely because she has reached great heights but because she remains deeply rooted in her mission. Even before starting Nykaa, Falguni had helped countless other entrepreneurs go public with their ventures. Now, with Nykaa's own IPO, she carries with her success the message of empowering a greater number of women. For Falguni, a world of opportunities opens up to women who dream big and take that first step – regardless of where they are in their journey.

Eng Poo-Jiuan joins Schaeffler as Senior Vice President of Human Resource Asia Pacific Schaeffler, one of the leading global suppliers to the automotive and industrial sectors has appointed Poo-Jiuan Eng as Senior Vice President of Human Resources Asia Pacific. Based, in Singapore, Eng will oversee close to 6000 employees across 18 markets, while providing the necessary resources to ensure operational excellence and drive the overall HR strategy within the Asia Pacific region.

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QuEST Global hires Courtney Headley as the new Global Head for Culture & Inclusion QuEST Global has announced the appointment of Courtney Headley as the Global Head for Culture and Inclu-

QBE to fast-track people and culture strategy with Amanda Hughes QBE Insurance has named Amanda Hughes incoming Group Executive who will oversee the company's people and culture strategy. She will ascend the post on 1 December, succeeding Margaret Murphy who is returning to the UK. Hughes brings with her years of experience in HR and a "strong business acumen". Her mandate later expanded to cover HR accountability across the firm's corporate functions, the company said.

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Wells Fargo appoints Vidya Lakshmi as Head of Human Resources, India & Philippines Wells Fargo & Company announced today that Vidya Lakshmi has been named as head of Human Resources for India & Philippines (I&P). Vidya joined Wells Fargo earlier this month and will report to Managing Director and Executive Vice President for India & Philippines Arindam Banerrji and serve on the company’s Operating Committee for I&P. In this new role Vidya leads all HR services across the two regions and oversees the implementation of country-specific labor practices and effective risk controls. She is responsible for defining and driving the people's strategy and priorities for the approximately 37,000 employees in I&P in partnership with the local and global leadership.

sion. The latest move is part of the company’s series of appointments after they unveiled Aidan Quiligan as the new President of Corporate Development last month. Courtney will be responsible for strengthening QuEST’s culture, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices as the company expands and maximizes its brand worldwide and would be reporting to Niketh Sundar, Chief People Officer, QuEST Global.

Clare Muhiudeen joins Willis Towers Watson as Head of Asia Global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson has appointed Clare Muhiudeen as Head of Asia, effective immediately. She replaces Scott Burnett, who is transitioning from his role in Asia to his new position as Chief Commercial Officer of WTW's Risk & Broking operations worldwide. Clare brings 30 years of experience in human capital consulting, serving clients and leading large, multi-disciplinary teams across international markets including the Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and Latin America. DECEMBER 2021 |


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Former Alight APAC Head joins Darwinbox, expected to help drive global growth Darwinbox announced today that Shaswat Kumar has been appointed to the executive leadership team as Senior VP of Global Customer Success and Delivery. Formerly the Asia Leader at Alight Solutions, Kumar comes with two decades of multi-geographical and multicultural experience in helping businesses with their HR transformation journeys. In his role at Alight, he helped to establish the firm as the preferred partner for HR and business solutions, and was responsible for crafting and executing regional expansion strategies that positioned Alight as a dominant player in the region. Unispace appoints Paul Baxter as CEO for Asia Unispace has announced the appointment of Paul Baxter as its new Chief Executive Officer for Asia to further strengthen its senior leadership team in the region. The appointment comes after Unispace witnesses robust business growth in Asia, especially as organisations across the region are navigating new workplace expectations amid the post-pandemic recovery. Based in Singapore, Paul looks forward to leading the team in helping more global businesses realise the future of work and reap greater success across the region. Mercer appoints Hyungkoo Lee CEO in Korea Mercer appointmented HyungKoo (Hank) Lee as Chief Executive Officer in Korea. He is currently also



Korea CEO of insurance and brokerage firm Marsh, the sister company of Mercer, and Country Corporate Officer for Marsh McLennan, the parent firm of both, in Korea. He continues in both roles - making this the first time Marsh and Mercer have had a unified CEO role in Asia. In the unified CEO role, he will drive greater collaboration between the two businesses, allowing them to combine the insurance broking and risk advisory capabilities of Marsh with the consulting expertise of Mercer. NTUC LHUB names Jeremy Ong new CEO NTUC LearningHub has announced the appointment of Jeremy Ong as Chief Executive Officer with effect from 5 November, almost a year after the sudden passing of former CEO Kwek Kok Kwong left the role tragically vacant. Ong joins the union social enterprise from AXA Singapore, where he was previously Chief Customer and Operations Officer. EY names Richard Watson new Global Cybersecurity Lead EY has announced the promotion of Richard Watson to the role of Global Cybersecurity Leader, taking over from Kris Lovejoy. He was previously Asia-Pacific Cybersecurity Consulting Leader, a role he still holds alongside the global position, and prior to that he had headed the Oceania cybersecurity practice. In the new global role, he will lead global development and execution of EY's cybersecurity strategy, capability, methodology, knowledge sharing, and cybersecurity platform.

eight Questions



Ian Lee

Regional President, APAC, The Adecco Group By Neelanjana Mazumdar


us to walk the talk as a peoplecentered organisation

We want to engage our teams and associates to be resilient in the face of challenges and retain this strength as we move forward

The biggest challenge for you to come out stronger?

The most important step you are taking to prepare for tomorrow?



Are you making long-term plans?

Of course! We will always look to maintain and sustain longterm targets, ambitiously yet with flexibility. This will allow us to keep up with the VUCA world


Your roadmap to stay competitive beyond the pandemic?

Our strengths lie in our people – ensuring their resilience and readiness allows us to outperform in every situation. We are thus focused on building strong leadership pipelines to ensure our organisation continues to build on our competitive edge, regardless of any external fluctuations


One thing you will act on that you learned from your employees?

The optimism of the young talent

Our strengths lie in our people – ensuring their resilience and readiness allows us to outperform in every situation here at Adecco is admirable. The energy and passion they bring to their work and engagement is almost infectious


One new aspect/element that you will embed in your workforce?

Employee wellbeing – as an employer, I need to ensure that the people I work with are taken care of physically and mentally. This is not only the seed that grows into a productive and engaged organisation, it allows


r a p i d - f i r e

With the changing macro environment, it is key to surround oneself with a strong and resilient team and prioritise communication, especially when we’re in a virtual setting. It is also essential to prioritise mental health for employees to ensure they remain not only productive, but also healthy

Are you embracing hybrid? Will it sustain in the long term? After the pandemic, not only will we retain a hybrid work mode, we are also taking the opportunity to embrace change and improve our workplace to make it more suited for hybrid work and collaboration


What life lessons have you learned during this pandemic?

It is difficult to expect the unexpected, but it is always important to be prepared for possibilities. While we are unable to predict what is to come, it is important that we are able to embrace the future with agility and adaptability DECEMBER 2021 |




Focus on your people's needs, and they will respond by meeting yours: Toby Switzer


Today's pandemic-disrupted environment puts the emphasis on creating better ways to lead, manage, and meet the needs of people. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, the Chief Human Capital Officer of the Agility Group talks about how global companies are changing up their formula for finding and growing the talent they need By Mastufa Ahmed


oby Switzer has been with Agility since the beginning of 1999, and currently serves as the Chief Human Capital Officer of the Agility Group, overseeing the people management aspect of a 16,000+ strong global workforce. Before taking on the CHRO role, he was Agility's Chief Executive Officer and President International of Agility’s Defense & Government Services, overseeing more than 11,000 employees and $2.5 billion in annual revenue globally. He has extensive experience with the logistics | december 2021

needs of the military and defense sectors. Prior to joining Agility, Toby was a Commander in the US Navy Supply Corps and over the course of his career, he served in two different US Embassies, served as a Logistics Operations Officer with US Special Operations Command, served in three major CFO/Comptroller positions, and had two tours of duty on board US Navy ships. In 2006 he was awarded “Logistician of the Year” by The Institute for Defense and Government Advancement. He holds a Masters from the Industrial College of the

Armed Forces of the National Defense University, and is an alumnus of Hawaii's Chaminade University as well as Indiana University. Here's what he shared with us.

Could you tell us more about Agility? What's the business doing today? Agility is a supply chain services, innovation and investment leader. We recently sold our largest business unit, a commercial freight forwarding company known as GIL, to DSV, the world’s third-largest freight forwarding company. So we are in a period of transition.


DECEMBER 2021 | december



There are two parts of our business today. One, we operate a group of highly profitable supply chain-related businesses, mainly in highgrowth emerging markets. This includes one of the largest developers of logistics parks in the Middle East and Africa, the fastest-growing emerging markets airport services company, a leading liquid fuel logistics business for the Middle East and Africa, catering and lifesupport for remote and hardto-reach businesses, a customs digitation business, and a digital logistics platform for ecommerce logistics and online freight. Two, we have a number of strategic investments focused on making supply chains better: faster, smarter, greener, fairer, and more resilient. We own 8% of DSV – we’re the second-largest shareholder in that company, which has roughly $23b | DECEMBER 2021

in annual revenue. Our ventures arm is also investing in several innovative businesses across our industry, from electric trucks to a shared mobility platform.

How has the year 2020 and 2021 been for supply chain services companies? What has changed? The pandemic period has been one of the most tumultuous, unsettling and disruptive periods in recent history. The global supply and value chain that began to take shape in the 1980s and 1990s came under incredible strain right from the start in early 2020 and remains under strain today. There are huge bottlenecks and imbalances at every node in the global trading system. Shortages of shipping containers, as well as ocean, air and road capacity. A dearth of critical manufacturing inputs such as semicon-

ductors, rare earth metals, pharmaceutical ingredients. A lack of short-term storage space and conventional warehousing. Inventory outages, ships idling for days on the water unable to unload, and record-high rates for container shipping, air freight, and trucking. All kinds of companies – toy makers, car makers, medical equipment producers, consumer product companies, electronics manufacturers – have lowered their profit outlook because of supply constraints. There are imbalances and shortages on the people side of this equation, too. In some cases, it’s a matter of not enough people to do certain jobs – heavy-haul truckers, for instance. But in other cases, it’s clear that businesses haven’t devoted enough attention to finding, recruiting and developing the talent they need to make their supply chains work better and stand up to the stress. I saw an interesting statistic the other day: Bank of America says there has been a 412% increase in mentions of “supply chain” in third-quarter earnings calls by Fortune 500 companies. That’s 412% over Q3 2020 – when supply chain was already a very hot topic – and 123% over Q2 of 2021. Supply chain issues – and I include the people piece of the supply chain – are the most complex, difficult

issues that businesses face today. That is unlikely to change anytime before 2023, if then.

we have a clearer picture of what work will look like in the future. But what we know is that we have to have the right formula for hiring in a market that is only getting tougher. We need to be able to find and grow the right talent. And above all, we need to retain our best people, in the face of what some people are now calling “the Great Resignation.” So my three priority areas of focus are: How can you grow managers into leaders who

Agility’s identity and mission and investment strategy, it’s especially important to be able to identify and develop smart, capable people who can help us in this journey.

The future of work has been accelerated by the pandemic. What are some of the most critical questions that leaders should ask as they prepare for 2022? The nature of work and the workplace are clearly changing. It will probably take some time before


“As much as we need to think about bringing in new talent to our organisations, we also need to make our current workforce our priority. We can’t take our people for granted”


COP26 just underscored the breadth and depth of the global race towards sustainability. As a major supply chain company, what are some of the steps you are taking towards sustainability? Agility has a powerful sustainability story and record. This is not something new for us, it’s an area we have been investing in for 15+ years. Agility is a member for FTSE4Good and an Ecovadis silver-rated company for sustainability. Our main areas of focus are first and foremost, to tackle fair labour across the supply chain. We have embraced an extensive training programme for managers, employees, and suppliers and have committed to third-party fair labour audits in all of our emerging markets operations. Second, we focus on the environment, which includes a move to renewable energy in markets where it is commercially feasible to do so, as well as customer partnerships to reduce emissions and waste. Third, we focus on community impact. Agility supports education initiatives for 5,000+ young people a year around the world, with an emphasis on 50% female participation. We

also partner with UNHCR to support more than 12,000 refugees, and have participated in more than 80+ humanitarian logistics response operations after major natural disasters around the world. Sustainability is critical to hiring and retaining talent. In our experience, people are keenly interested in working for employers that are doing something to improve and protect the planet and the communities we work in. For a company like ours, where sustainability has moved to the core of

know how to take care of and motivate their teams? After all, people don’t generally leave because of pay; they leave because of bad or ineffective managers. And it takes a lot of skill and development to be a good leader. Over the last two years, Agility has held well over 200 sessions involving thousands of participants that include multi-block, 6+ month graduating programs for leadership and management, as well as individual skill-building sessions. These includes courses helping people work and manage DECEMBER 2021 |



remotely. We are also holding ongoing online webinars related to personal wellness. The goal is to give employees and managers at all levels of the organisation a chance to grow and develop, as well as to be able to manage the tensions of an industry and world that is under strain. How can you use the digital acceleration happening across industries to drive a more efficient and data-driven HR function? McKinsey says most companies in the world advanced their digital agenda by 3-4 years because of the pandemic. HR must inevitably be part of that agenda. At Agility, we are doubling down on digitising HR/admin processes so that we get smarter, faster, more efficient, and more standardised. By doing that, can get better data and improve our decision making with analytics. How do you act as a strategic partner to the business? Our industry, and our company, is changing fast. It’s important to show how HR can create value for the business by being involved strategically, as a partner, not just as an administrative function. It is important for HR to participate at all levels of strategic and tactical decision making of the company and to be proactive in how we can make our “human capital” empowered to bring their | DECEMBER 2021

dynamism to growing the business and working in the community.

You mentioned digital acceleration, and indeed technology is changing work, workplace and workforce like never before. How are you leveraging nextgen technologies to manage people and in turn help business achieve its goal? Where are you on your tech journey? Although Agility has long been a digital leader in our industry, we have yet to fully leverage technology on the HR side. In the past, it has been largely reserved for automating our internal processes. We are now changing that. We built an effective human capital management database. It gives us greater visibility on far-flung workforce, including the local, operational workforce in

emerging markets countries where it used to be hard to get data and visibility. One area where this visibility is already paying off is in gender and diversity. We now have a gender dashboard that provides an accurate breakdown of our workforce and tells us where we’re meeting or falling short of our goals. We have a new learning management system that will help us manage the development and competency requirements we have for managers and other team members. We have new business intelligence capabilities and tools that will allow us to create better analytics for decision-making. We will also implement a new, smarter talent acquisition platform to replace our older one. By doing this, we hope to make better decisions to find and hire the best people that will fit into Agility…not only because they have the skills

we need, but also because they have the curiosity and potential to drive our culture. We want people who can identify the new opportunities and changes that we need to continually grow our business.

better. We know what people need in order to succeed in each role, and what we ought to be doing to help people grow and progress. On top of all that we are doing internally, it is also essential to stay involved with what others are doing outside of Agility and how we can learn, share, and collaborate with others as we address these issues. One way I have really benefited from this is my enthusiastic engagement in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Community of CHROs. Agility has been actively involved at all levels of the WEF as a major sponsor and contributor over the years. For me specifically, my ability to regularly interact and share with fellow CHROs from other enterprises on this Forum gives me insights about the broader industry landscape, trends in the markets, and best practices for important DECEMBER 2021 |


ing the pandemic, our airport services business was hard hit. We had a highly trained customer service team that was used to dealing with passenger-check in and lounge services, that was not able to work because airports were closed. During that same period, some of our e-commerce businesses surged, and with them, the number of customer service queries. By temporarily redeploying customer care staff from the airport services business to the e-commerce business, we were able to avoid deeper job cuts for the airport services business, manage a crisis situation for the e-commerce business, and retrain employees in both businesses in the process. Technology also supports these efforts. With our new human capital management system, we are able to define roles and responsibilities


On the question of skills, organisations all over the world are encountering a 'skills mismatch'. How can corporations build more skilling pathways to succeed in the future of work? Digital skilling is going to be essential, as is adaptability to a learn-by-doing environment. One of the ways we have done this in Agility is to create on-the-job exposure opportunities. For example, we have created some promising in-house startup businesses that combine talented existing staff with the understanding of the Agility culture, and new hires that have unique skills and a digital-first mindset. That’s the model we used to create our Shipa businesses, and a model we might turn to again. It requires people who are highly flexible in addition to being talented, and it gives people a chance to learn and grow in a way that furthers business interests. Our business is highly dynamic, so another reskilling opportunity comes from cross-training and preparing people to be adaptable to ever-fluctuating market conditions. For example, dur-




topics, such as Reskilling and Upskilling, and brings significant value to my thinking about what we do next at Agility.


The pandemic made the workforce rethink their career and deeply question the role of work in their lives. As a result, we're seeing the 'Great Resignation', as you had mentioned. How do you think this trend will pan out in 2022 and what should leaders do to elevate employee experience? What is Agility doing differently to attract and retain the best talent? People want to be part of something, and know that what they are doing is contributing. That means not just doing a function, but recognising how their part leads to the overall success of the company. They want to know why we are doing something or why our strategy has us focused on certain things and not on others. We’re trying to get everyone to understand why we are doing something, and to understand their role in the big picture. I think we’ve been fairly successful at that at Agility. The Great Resignation has not hit us as badly as it seems to have hit many other companies. Retention has always been good because people do feel they are contributing at Agility. You can’t take that for granted. Our values have been important, as has our culture. We’re | DECEMBER 2021

“In some cases, it’s a matter of not enough people to do certain jobs... but in other cases, it’s clear that businesses haven’t devoted enough attention to finding, recruiting and developing the talent they need” entrepreneurial and less hierarchical than most companies our size. That helps. We also invest in developing the professional capabilities of our people and our leaders. We need to give our people opportunities to do and learn about new developments within all of our Agility companies as well as those outside of Agility and to prove they can accomplish their goals. The fact that Agility has multiple lines of business also lets us creates new learning and development paths and career pathways, which can be a powerful tool to keep our talented people interested over time.

What have been the biggest lessons this pandemic has highlighted for the world of work? Are we moving in the right direction to bet on the posi-

tive trends such as focus on well-being, culture of innovation and many more? One is the myth busters of the pandemic was that you couldn’t trust people to work from home. Frankly, we would have been in big trouble if our people – in 100+ countries – had not been so quick to adapt and transition to remote and virtual work and meetings. Fortunately we had already been embracing Zoom before the pandemic so we had a bit of a head start. Our people quickly demonstrated the ability to keep performing at a very high level – and were even more productive in many cases. Down the road, we need to figure out the right balance of work-from-home and office work. We need to get a better handle on employee wellbeing, which includes issues of work-life balance. Getting that balance right is something everyone is still struggling with. And that’s part of why we are investing in our in-house online development courses and webinars to help people figure out how to manage these issues better. Overall, I would say that for a global company like ours, remote and work from home has actually turned out to be a boon. There are any number of examples where teams have been able to connect a lot better for problemsolving, new business ideas, cross-functional connections across the world – without

How do you see the larger HR landscape evolving in 2022? How should talent leaders reimagine their roles and prepare for the future? As much as we need to think about bringing in new talent to our organisations, we also need to make our current workforce our priority. We can’t take our people for granted. The job market is in flux

for young talent. Fortunately, it is something our leadership has focused on – not just paid lip service to - and embraced as part of our everyday culture. Some things don’t change though, they just become more important. Leadership matters to human beings. I’ve learned that over the span of my career as a Naval Officer, the CEO of a multi-billion dollar defense and government business, and

now as Chief Human Capital Officer of Agility. Leadership skills matter, and they are learned skills. Experience, exposure, and development as well as mentoring/coaching are required to make good leaders.

What’s your vision of the future of work 2 years down the line? Work is changing fast. It’s a highly dynamic space, and that’s part of what’s challenging and exciting about being a business and HR leader during these times. I would imagine that we are going to see more flexibility becoming a standard part of how companies work, with some level of hybrid work becoming permanent. (I think people are finding they miss the office more than they realised!). Less travel and more virtual meetings are probably a permanent change, as is more technology-abled work across every function in every business in every industry. Jobs that existed even five years ago will be replaced with new ones. The overriding theme here is that we don’t always know what’s coming, but we know that the pace of change is accelerating. And the most important thing we can do as a business is to prepare our people to be adaptable to inevitable change, and to have the skills that allow them as individuals, and us a company, to be resilient. DECEMBER 2021 |


as never before and the market is flooded with new opportunities. People are rethinking options and trying to figure out what they want in life and from their work. We have to make sure we have that in mind all the time. We need to listen and focus on what people want and need, not just in terms of compensation. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are even more important in today’s world and


having to travel. Not only did we save the substantial costs of travel, but maybe even more significantly, we avoided the delays that waiting for a travel opportunity to be together would cost the business in terms of responsive decision-making. In its own way, the pandemic has managed to sweep away or break down silos that might otherwise still be obstacles to the teamwork we encourage.


Shai Ganu

Executive rewards should be a catalyst for corporate action on climate Companies cannot afford, in any sense of the word, to ignore climate issues. A concrete and important first step will be to tie climate targets to short-term incentive packages




limate targets have undergone a positive evolution. In the past, they tended to be too soft and untransparent. They were largely seen as box-checking exercises, and critics flatly called them out as greenwashing. But given the criticality of the climate crisis, more and more companies and investors are realising the importance of including climate change metrics both in management systems, corporate disclosures, and compensation plans alike. Additionally, other stakeholders including customers and employees have joined the discussion and are voting with their feet, favour-


ing companies that take climate change seriously. Customers are more willing to buy products and services that set meaningful targets for climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report released in August this year calls out climate change as a code red for humanity. It outlines the projected impacts of five emissions scenarios, which range from global net negative to net zero emissions doubling by 2050 and 2100, compared to current levels. Reaching net-zero will require deep and steep emission cuts and companies will need to priori-

tise cutting carbon. In an increasingly competitive labour market, including mitigating actions on climate change in corporate purpose can help attract the best talent. How a company addresses climate change has to be part of a hiring strategy. And once employees are on board, employers will need to continue to listen to employees. Climate change strategy must be part of the culture. Short-term targets, therefore, need to be taken immediately in order to meet 2050, so investors are going to look at a range of targets - including pay. Investors are going to want to see very concrete evidence of climate targets being tied to short-term incentives.

Investors may be the most important of all the stakeholders because they have a number of vital levers to pull in the event they are unsatisfied with a company’s climate change strategy. Among the levers at their disposal are Say on Pay votes in jurisdictions where applicable, Say on Climate votes in certain cases, and re-election of board members. When they are not satisfied with a company’s climate change plans, they can even vote for certain directors to step down. Investors are also calling for enhanced disclosures of climate related metrics linked to sciencebased targets. There is also stronger emphasis on prospective transparency of metrics and targets, particularly when linked to compensation.


Investors will drive the movement

Board members must be climate literate and at least some board members should be climate experts. This is an interdisciplinary challenge and it is important that the board is equipped to provide adequate climate stewardship The role of boards in addressing climate change and applying metrics

Boards of directors recognise the importance of acting on climate change, including incorporating climate metrics in pay. Boards are responding to investor demand for action on climate change. They know that failure to respond might place them at risk of a breach of fiduciary duty. The board’s governance role is to work with the management each step of the way and ensure engagement of all key stakeholder groups by: 1. Aligning climate priorities with business strategy 2. Tying climate goals to the net zero vision DECEMBER 2021 |


First movers who embrace this issue and embark on a transformation journey will be the winners. The losers are the ones who are recalcitrant, refusing to change or innovate, and continue to deny climate change despite the clear scientific evidence set before them


3. Selecting the right metrics 4. Designing fit-for-purpose incentives 5. Telling the story with disclosures 6. Evolving the plan and learning over time It is therefore important for all Board members to be climate literate and for at least some board members to be climate experts. This is an interdiscipli-

nary challenge and it is important that the board is equipped to provide adequate climate stewardship

Need for both short- and longterm KPIs

A well-designed executive compensation plan can be an important accelerant to help drive climate change. However, including climate metrics and objectives in an organisation’s compensation programme will require buy-in from various stakeholders, especially investors and the board of directors. Whilst over the past few years, we have seen an increase in prevalence of ESG metrics in executive incentives, there is still room for improvement for adoption of climate metrics. Based on our latest research of US S&P 500 companies and top 350 European companies, more companies have

Figure 1: Room for improvement in the adoption of climate metrics

Use of climate metrics in executive incentive plans by companies in S&P 500 and major indices in Europe All plans

STI plans

19% of companies incorporate

climate and broader environmental measures in their incentive plans.

16% of companies incorporate

climate and broader environmental measures in their STI plans.

U.S. (n= 317)

U.S. (n= 317)



Europe (n= 177)

Europe (n= 177)





LTI plans

6% of companies incorporate

climate and broader environmental measures in their LTI plans. U.S. (n= 317)

2% Europe (n= 177)

13% 6%

• US is based on companies in the S$P 500; Europe is based on companies in the following indices: FTSE 100 (UK), IBEX 35 (Spain), BEL 20 (Belgium, DAX 30 (Germany), AEX 25 (Netherlands), CAC 40 (France), SMI 20 (Switzerland), ISEQ 20 (Ireland) and MIB 40 (Italy)

• Including the following industries: Fast moving consumer goods, Financials, Healthcare, Information Technology, Oil & Gas, Retail, Transportation, Utilities • All analyses are based on FYE between June 2020-May 2021 (except where latest proxies have not yet been published) n = number of companies 24


tion to net-zero. Setting consistent and reliable goals and milestones will be challenging. But companies must resist the temptation to inaction, as climate risk is widely considered the single most significant risk to the planet, businesses and the stability of the global financial system. There are inevitably going to be winners and losers. And the truth is, many still have a long way to go. But rather than thinking of winners and losers in terms of industries, the first movers that embrace this issue and embark on a transformation journey will be the winners. The losers are the ones who are recalcitrant, refusing to change or innovate, and continue to deny climate change despite the clear scientific evidence set before them. The encouraging thing is that we are now frequently asked in boardrooms - “How do we incorpoThose who refuse to act will lose rate ESG and climate measures in pay?”. So, mindsets appear to be There remains much for the busishifting and we need to turn that ness community to learn about the implications of climate transi- thought into action.


environmental measures in their annual incentive plans compared to their long-term incentive plans. An ESG survey that we conducted in December 2020 with Boards of Directors globally also shows that climate action and executive rewards are increasingly connected. In Asia Pacific, seven in ten respondents are planning to change how they use ESG within their executive incentive plans over the next three years. They listed environment and governance issues as their number one priority, and 69% plan to introduce ESG measures in their long-term incentive plans over the next three years while 61% plan to do the same with their annual incentive plans. This almost certainly reflects a growing weight of outside influences, including one of the pillars of the Taskforce for Climaterelated Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework and the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) inclusion of a specific provision (Principle 6) for incentivisation in its Principles for Effective Climate Governance for non-executive board directors. Good design principles would suggest the need for both short and long-term incentives. While short-term plans recognise management’s efforts in achieving climate-change related milestones, long-term incentives should reward for achievement of key outcomes and long-term targets.


Shai Ganu, Managing Director and Global Leader for Executive Compensation, Willis Towers Watson



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Soitec's Pascal Lobry on how the Great Resignation can become the 'Great Recruitment'

At a time when many companies are grappling with the 'Great Resignation', international semiconductor firm Soitec is ramping up its hiring with very little difficulty. In an exclusive interaction with us, Pascal Lobry, Executive Vice President, People & Sustainability at Soitec, talks about the strategies that enable such a push By Mastufa Ahmed 26



eople are the drivers of business growth more than ever, but the pandemic has made it very difficult for many companies to find and keep the talent they need. In a time when meeting workers' needs is central to supporting business strategy, the approach to talent management and indeed the entire worldview of what is important in the workplace has to change, says Pascal Lobry, Executive Vice President, People & Sustainability at Soitec.

this pandemic has highlighted in terms of the culture of innovation and adaptability? How will this play out in 2022? The pandemic has disrupted companies’ business-as-usual routines and compelled them to pivot online and leverage technology to compensate for the social distancing restrictions. Overnight, companies had to accelerate their digitalisation while their workforces had to brave the steep learning curve of learning how to use new digital solutions and mobile applications. For innovation and adaptability to be pervasive within an organisation, there must be a whole-ofcompany approach to adopting technology. This means that digital skill is not a good-to-have but a musthave, with buy-in from all levels of the organisation. Secondly, an organisa-


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and increase our EBITDA margin to 35% by 2026. To achieve these goals, we need to rapidly increase our headcount correspondingly. We aim to double our current headcount of 1,850 by 2026. Our focus is therefore on making ourselves an attractive employer to support our growth. We are rolling out intensive employer branding initiatives to highlight our employee value proposition and assure new employees that one; they will enjoy a good quality of work-life balance and two; diversity and inclusion are not an afterthought. One of the key policies we leverage is sharing value creation with our employees by making them The future of work has been shareholders in our Group, accelerated by the pandemic. so that they too will benefits from the company's perforWhat are some of the most critical preparations that lead- mance. ers should make for 2022? The pandemic has been an The global pandemic impetus for innovation. What was a wake-up call for have been the biggest lessons companies to address their workforce’s general wellbeing, in particular their mental health, as working from home became the default mode. Companies need to adopt enlightened, progressive and adaptable approaches to sustainably and effectively manage their talent. At Soitec, we are presently at a key juncture as we gear up to accelerate our growth for the next few years. Our target is to triple our revenues to around US$2 billion

Pascal joined Soitec in 2015 and oversees the change strategies of the company's people and sustainability aspects. He previously served as HR director for several major international firms including SPIE Oil & Gas Services, Valeo and Galderma, and worked closely with management teams on the transformations of business strategies and organisations. A graduate of ESSEC Business School, he regularly teaches at the master's level in human resources management, most notably at Sciences Po. Here are the excerpts of what he told us.


tion has to acknowledge that a culture of innovation does not exist in an instant but time has to be allowed for mindsets and paradigm shifts to be affected. For example, anecdotes abound of companies which experimented with numerous video conferencing solutions and experienced shortfalls before settling on one which suited their needs.

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Technology has indeed been the key enabler during the crisis. But it’s not just


as employees are working remotely while having to deliver what is expected of them, notwithstanding the challenging work environment. An organisation has to balance the need to trust their remote workforce while expecting accountability from them. In practical terms, this means an organisation extends its workforce the latitude to operate within negotiated boundaries while maintaining a hands-off policy of

To lay a strong foundation for digital transformation, an organisation needs to create an environment in which trust can be extended to, and expected from, all stakeholders. An organisation has to balance the need to trust their remote workforce while expecting accountability from them about tech but how you put tech to use. So, what's your advice on how to best leverage technology for competitive advantage? Technology is only as effective as its users, or rather, how users harness technology. To lay a strong foundation for digital transformation, an organisation needs to create an environment in which trust can be extended to, and expected from, all stakeholders. This is especially crucial | DECEMBER 2021

constantly monitoring their employees’ activities. Companies which operate without trust will risk alienating and disenchanting their workforce in the long run, something which they want to avoid as economies gradually reopen and job opportunities rise.

On the topic of values, sustainability is becoming more important for all companies, across all industries. What are your thoughts

on how to align organisational goals with sustainability efforts? Sustainability has been part of Soitec's DNA since the very beginning of the company. Our entire business is around designing products to ensure energy sobriety without compromising performance. In 2020, we have made sustainability one of the four pillars on which our medium-term strategic vision is built. We recently launched a Sustainability Report presenting our achievements for the year 2020-2021 and our CSR commitments which support our strategic roadmap until 2026. These commitments call on us to take action for 12 of the 17 sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations. They are built on three pillars: drive the transition to a sustainable economy through innovation and operations, promote an inclusive work environment that addresses gender issues with ambitious objectives – including LGBTQIA+ matters – as well as health and safety in the workplace, and act to become a role model for a better society. The impetus for aligning our organisational goals with sustainability efforts are clear cut for us. The semiconductor materials we design and manufacture are used by 80% of the world. This places a very huge responsibility on

the planet to 1.5°C and are committed to the ScienceBased Targets Initiative. We also serve as a catalyst to work with industries, customers and suppliers to set up high ethical standards for a more sustainable future and build sustainable supply chains and create resilient ecosystems where they operate.

What role are top leaders playing in boosting the employee experience during this Great Resignation? What is Soitec doing differently to enhance the employee experience for the workforce? If the pandemic has demonstrated anything about Soitec’s management, it is that our top management is sincere in empathy and gratitude. Putting themselves in the shoes of our employees, the top management has gone out of their

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us to make the world better, to facilitate numerous technological advances that are impacting an ever-expanding range of expectations in the fields of communication, mobility and intelligence in connected objects. We leverage our position to influence stakeholders for the long-term good of our world. For example, we are getting our customers to support our pledge to source all raw materials under recognised international guidelines and abide by the Responsible Business Alliance’s Code of Conduct for corporate social responsibility in global supply chains. Our sustainability focus is wide ranging. We are among the first four companies worldwide in the semiconductor industry that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global warming of

way to communicate personally with employees, ranging from those in the essential production lines to corporate functions and understand their needs. To show appreciation for the engagement of the whole staff during this period, the company rewarded their efforts by an exceptional grant of free performance shares for all employees worldwide focused on our 3-year profitable growth perspective, with an individual allotment corresponding to four months of their salary. We have found that little gestures go a long way. For example, with WFH being the norm, we have enabled our staff to work remotely from their homes by providing them with the necessary IT tools and support. In Singapore for example, we have taken the step to help our colleagues from Malaysia who cross the border for work daily to defray their accommodation costs in Singapore while the land border with Malaysia remains closed. This gesture has helped to instil loyalty and commitment to the company. Partly because of what we are doing for our Malaysian colleagues, they are also encouraging their relatives and friends to join Soitec. During this pandemic we have not let up on our internal training but have intensified our talent development and upskilling programs, DECEMBER 2021 |


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How are you going to fulfil the sophisticated demands of all your stakeholders, including your employees? Can you share some insights on this? Our engagements with our stakeholders are an ongoing, dynamic, and long-term process. With regards to our employees, we are committed to making Soitec an employer of choice by pursuing several approaches. Firstly, we actively promote an inclusive and diverse work environment and eliminate all forms of discrimination. To this end, we aim to increase the representation of women in our top management from the current 18% to 25% by fiscal year 2025. During the same period, we also want to raise the percentage of women in our global workforce from 34% currently to 40%. Secondly, we endeavour to ing work environment and guarantee safety in both our promote employee wellproducts and our workplaces being. We adopt an uncompromising stand with regard by working towards a ‘Zero to health and safety issues to Accident’ safety culture. ensure that our employees Thirdly, as the ongoing have the optimum environpandemic has demonstrated, ment to work in. This even we have actively protected extends to enhancing workour employees and ensured station ergonomics. continuing operations as Far from experiencing part of our business contithe Great Resignation, we nuity practices. are witnessing the Great Lastly, we believe in Recruitment! We have sharing the fruits of our already recruited nearly 300 success with our employees. new employees in the first Through our employee stock half of this fiscal year and ownership plan, 100% of our we aim to recruit another 200 eligible employees are proud by the end of March 2022. owners of Soitec shares.

'The global pandemic was a wakeup call for companies to address their workforce’s general wellbeing...Companies need to adopt enlightened, progressive and adaptable approaches to sustainably and effectively manage their talent' ensuring that about 90% of our workforce receive training that is relevant to their work. We also place a particular focus on devising fast-track career paths tailored to our employees and to the development of their skills, based on HR processes – including a people review. This year, we conducted a career assessment for the first time for more than 1,400 of our staff. Having the pandemic upend our normal work routines did not prevent us from striving to create a fulfilling and reward| DECEMBER 2021

Craig Goldblatt

Creating a collaborative environment for employee well-being

Learning & Development

Statistics support the theory that a happy organisation is a productive one – and that those with the right technologies in place will ultimately benefit by helping employees remain engaged. How organisations are maintaining a happy workplace amid the pandemic is a lesson to learn for the long run



he evolving postpandemic work landscape will play a big role in shaping employee expectations, with flexibility as a core consideration. As stated by Hays in their Annual Salary Survey, well over 70 percent of employees will request some element of remote work in their next contract. The 2021 Globalization Partners Global Employee Survey supports this further with findings that indicate that 48 percent of employees feel happier about work since working remotely. It is therefore incumbent upon companies to lead the way on this, and begin to consider ways to provide an effective but ultimately flexible working arrangement for


employees. Again, technology will be at the centre of this evolution, paving the way for employees to experience a seamless transition from office environment to home or remote work. All systems and applications must be universally applied, available, and delivered to employees in a fast, secure fashion. This hybrid model will offer employees more time to engage with family and ‘home-life’ in general, with less time spent commuting. While this is of great benefit to balancing out the work/ life equation, there does need to be a subsequent adjustment made on the employer side, as less facetime during standard work hours does equate to fewer networking

interactions among employees, less team bonding and potentially less time spent on peripheral work discussions. New modes of work also require an evaluation of leadership techniques, moving to a more asynchronous model while maintaining accountability.

Start with onboarding

Designing a workplace with the theme of well-being at its core involves combining onboarding into the company, building collaborative learning and interaction, with empathetic leadership nous training sessions. It is much more conducive to a flexible workplace environment, as it actively encourages employees to reach out and share knowledge rather than relying on a full-day session in front of the one presenter, where for the most part, individual employees are required to stay heads-down and listening rather than interact. This democratises not only the learning process, but indeed the company culture that sits behind it. Applied to onboarding, this helps ensure that employees are brought on-board quickly, learning tools remain up-to-date with iterative, constantly evolving modules, and senior employees are valued for their knowledge of DECEMBER 2021 |

Learning & Development

The trick here is to build a fully collaborative environment, in which employees still receive full onboarding, replete with open forums for team discussions, collaborative workflows, continual feedback. For this reason, it is essential during the design and planning stage to step back and evaluate the underlying principles of the organisation, and find a means of effectively communicating its philosophy and ethos. What drives us, what makes us work as a company? How do we translate that culture to a workplace that spends the majority of time apart, yet one that maintains a strong sense of teamwork and thrives while working together on mutual goals? Collaborative learning is an essential cultural tool here. It is a mindset that fosters team learning culture – in other words, a training methodology in which employees share their subject matter expertise with one another, and colleagues teach and learn as a group. Collaborative learning replaces more traditional, top-down or centralised approaches whereby one person or team drives learning initiatives, often relying on outside experts and long, synchro-


Learning & Development

The hybrid model requires an adjustment on the employer side, to make up for fewer networking interactions among employees, less team bonding and potentially less time spent on peripheral work discussions not just company processes, but the very fabric of the organisation. In essence, by democratising learning and the onboarding process, the company is creating a collaborative, fun environment right from the start, as well as involving valued team members to import their knowledge and mentor others.

Leading in the new world order of work

This, in turn, flows through to leadership development. If there is a close-knit employee group, whereby members have been taught and mentored by their colleagues, there is less of a gap be34


tween those employees and their management hierarchy – and by design it is easier to garner team mood and morale, pick up on concerns and feed information back to the organisation. Leaders emerge from such company interactions. In many cases it offers them a chance to shine – it empowers them to achieve more and aim higher. It is essential for management to have insights into their employee group, and a closer relationship between team members naturally leads to better interaction. The Globalization Partners 2021 Global Employee Survey also found that the way companies lead through a crisis correlates strongly with employee retention intent. Over half (56 percent) of respondents reported their perception of their company leaders stayed the same or worsened since the outset of the pandemic. However, for the 44 percent that reported an improved perception of company leaders, they plan to stay working at their current company for more than three years.

Well-being completes the picture

Finally, when looking at wellbeing, there are several factors in the day-to-day interaction between employees and the organisation that need to be addressed. Policies on work practices are of paramount importance, and must establish clear boundaries and guidelines that protect and nurture the individual. Despite the fluid nature of the hybrid workforce, clear lines that de-

Putting the right structures in place with a view to managing and supporting well-being will not only encourage employees to look after themselves, but in the mediumterm will also raise productivity term will also raise productivity. Ultimately, designing a workplace with the theme of well-being at its core must be fundamental to the very essence of the company – built into its DNA. This combines onboarding into the company, building collaborative learning and interaction, with empathetic leadership. Doing this will not only create a harmonious daily work environment, empower the leaders of tomorrow and build loyalty and trust – but ultimately create happier and more productive employees.

Learning & Development

lineate work times ought to be established. It is easy to rely on staff to attend video conference calls across time-zones for example, but understanding must be given to that employee’s personal circumstances as well. Are they attending calls early in the morning, then again late at night? Are work calls consistently impacting family time, such as meals and children’s sport? If an employee is being asked to work outside of ‘normal’ business hours, are they then factoring in a longer break in the middle of the day in order to compensate? Vacations are another element of a happy work life that must be considered. In the modern, hyper-connected world it is all too easy to switch on a laptop and check emails, when in fact this runs counter to welldefined employee productivity. Employees need to break from work completely while on vacation, in order to recharge. The impact of constant connectivity on mental health can be quite profound, and policies and practices are required to counter this by allowing for total disconnection. Equally important is giving employees the right – plus the direction – to switch off completely after work hours. Excessive time with screens, clients, documents and applications can reduce productivity. Putting the right structures in place with a view to managing and supporting well-being will not only encourage employees to look after themselves, but in the medium-


Craig Goldblatt is the Vice President of Partners & Alliances for Globalization Partners business in Asia. In this capacity, he is responsible for ANZ partnership initiative as well as help the company to drive APAC wide partnerships. DECEMBER 2021 |



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Work in 2022: What's Next?

2021 was filled with the shifts and uncertainties of the pandemic. It’s time to build upon the positive transformations and prepare for the challenges ahead to shape a meaningful pathway into the coming year



Businesses have responded to the uncertainty by evolving in their operations, breaking down silos in favour of cross-functional collaborations at a faster pace than ever. Filling skill gaps is no longer a matter of hiring; talent development and retention have become critical. Upskilling has become not just the norm, but an expected strategy. Meanwhile, organisational characteristics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and good corporate citizenship are a priority in creating the new employee value proposition. As we move into the year 2022, it’s time to draw these myriad threads together into a path that is meaningful, purpose-driven, and people-centric. Businesses need to set better norms that will build a holistically healthy, productive, and inclusive workforce for the future. HR leaders need to reweigh workforce planning, performance management, and new-age experience strategies. By recognising and addressing the challenges and opportunities that the last year has brought, we can better equip ourselves to contribute meaningfully to the next. The cover story of our December 2021 issue looks back to identify key lessons leaders should factor in as they plan for the year 2022, opportunities that lie ahead, and ways for us to collectively build a sustainable and resilient world of work. DECEMBER 2021 |


021 has been a year of ups and downs, as the pandemic seemed about to end only to resurge in new and more worrisome ways. Looking back at the months that have passed, it's clear that the world of work has not only permanently changed, but will continue to change well into the future. Employment still has not recovered from the massive losses of jobs and working hours seen in 2020. Lower-income jobs have been disproportionately affected, and a growing skills mismatch has shut off many paths for these workers. The burden of unpaid labour has fallen even more heavily on women than before, often forcing them out of the job market. At the same time, massive shifts are ongoing in work, work culture, and workers' expectations. Last year's global work-fromhome experiment has borne fruit in the form of increased hybridisation, flexibility in workforce management, the integration of work and life, and an ever-growing emphasis on well-being as a holistic provision extending beyond the physical and into the realm of mental/emotional and even financial. Digital acceleration has similarly driven a surge of revised business strategies and operational approaches. Years of investment were compressed into months, and now leaders and the workforce alike are fast-forwarding into a future that is much closer than expected.


What did we learn from 2021? Despite the shifts in workplace culture, numerous surveys show that a large percentage of employees would like to leave their current employer and move to a new one



By Clinton Wingrove



once came across a great quotation, “Life's about being made to do things and then being glad you were made to afterwards." Doesn’t that just sum up the past two years? The professional press is littered with articles about how organisations are: • Prioritizing the mental and physical health of their employees; • Reimagining all aspects of work and looking at employee health holistically to better support their workforces; | DECEMBER 2021

• Getting their HR and IT leaders to ensure that technologies, workflows and processes are designed in a way that enshrines worker wellbeing; • Responding to employee needs and continuing or expanding WFH and flexible working policies; • Investing in training and development to ensure diversity and inclusion; • Finding new ways to support talent development to secure management continuity.

And yet, numerous surveys show that a large percentage of employees would like to leave their current employer and move to a new one! Employees are not stupid! They can smell when policies have changed because they had to. They can tell the difference between leaders and organisations that genuinely care about them and those that act as though they do but only out of necessity. They can spot when their employers were forced to do some-

thing and yet claim that they are glad that they did it. I contend that virtually none of the things so positively described in the professional press would have happened without the combined pressure from the pandemic, social media, and the workforces. If these three factors had not combined to create the perfect storm, many of the organisations would have continued with the traditional beliefs, processes, and practices of short-term profit goals; 9-5 working; on-site working; pressure to keep short term absence down; cost-cutting; etc. It’s easy to claim benevolence when you have already been forced to pay. So, against that backdrop, what did we learn from 2021? Our employees have the measure of us, the taste of power, and high expectations. In no order of priority, here is my list of learnings: 1. It is possible to have substantial parts of the workforce working remotely. But, we do not yet understand the longer term and unintended consequences of virtual or hybrid working. Many questions remain e.g.,

Whilst individual rewards can trigger temporary spikes in motivation, it is an employee’s cumulative experiences that determine their true motivation

long-term contingency planning seriously? We never thought that would happen but it now seems possible. 5. Improved pay rarely triggers and sustains increased engagement, performance, or retention. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the issue of, “What really motivates people?” Whilst individual rewards can trigger temporary spikes in motivation, it is an employee’s cumulative experiences that determine their true motivation. And, these experiences are not controlled solely by the managers (although each manager is often a conduit). They are greatly affected by peers, customers, vendors, et al - indeed by anyone with whom the employee interacts. We need all employees to understand this DECEMBER 2021 |


ethical working environments, because we believe in it not merely because it is “best practice” or forced upon us. That will lay the foundation for ensuring employee wellbeing which, in turn, will drive employee engagement. That will then lead to enhanced cumulative performance. Focusing exclusively on individual performance goals rarely leads to increased cumulative performance and can lead to rapidly deteriorating levels of mental health and ethics. 4. JIT supply chains are great … when they work! But, they are substantially more fragile than we believed. The knockon effects of any failure can reach far and wide, and the impacts can be extremely difficult to predict and manage. Will more organisations take


What will be the impact on relationships? What will be the impact of the loss of the informal information flow? Will real productivity go up or down? 2. The significant differentiator of any sustainably successful organisation continues to be the calibre of its leadership and management. Those organisations that have coped best during the pandemic, are now coping best with the JIT supply chain challenges, and are those that will probably cope best with the impact of climate change. They: • Trained and then selected individuals to be managers because of their proven capability to do just that – not because they excelled at something else; • Have managers who focus on what is IMPORTANT and not yet URGENT – the strategic priorities of their organisation – and so limit their need for urgent, reactive, and often costly tactics; • Have managers who excel at bringing out the best in their staff - not because of the policies, procedures, and systems but, because they are great people-managers who genuinely care. 3. We need to focus first on establishing healthy and




and we need to create HR processes and systems that reflect it. Ironically, many decisions made by organisations at the moment are counterproductive to employee motivation, being driven by financial pressures such as, “We have this expensive building. So, the employees need to use it! 6. Perpetual growth is not ecologically, socially, or financially sustainable. Perpetual growth can only ever be achieved with a corresponding popula-


invest in you because of what they anticipate being able to take out, not because of what you will gain from their investment. During the last two years, we have observed time and again the negative pressure that investors can exert e.g., over what we would have formerly called essential utilities such as water, gas, and electricity. If there is one major thing that we have learned from 2021 it is that short term thinking has long term conse-

People typically invest in you because of what they anticipate being able to take out, not because of what you will gain from their investment tion growth, and that is a major contributory factor to many of our major global challenges – climate change; water supplies; energy supplies; food supplies. At some point in time, organisations may need to shift from a perpetual growth model (with band-aid Corporate Social Responsibility tactics) to a societal or ecological-impact model, accepting flatter financial performance in the traditional sense. 7. Not all investment in a business is net positive. It can arrive in a Trojan Horse. People typically | DECEMBER 2021

quences. Who would have guessed! And, here is what I believe we are going to learn over the next year: 1. If managers rarely have one-to-one and face-toface interactions with their staff, how are they going to undertake valid and reliable assessments or evaluations of them? Many will be forced to focus solely on the results achieved. We already know from the 70’s that this leads to even more short-term thinking and major issues such as (a) deterioration in how

work gets done, and (b) not being able to manage a robust talent pipeline and management continuity plan. 2. In 2021, we focused primarily on the well-being issues related to virtual working. In 2022, we will learn about and start to understand the longer-term impacts on the quality of relationships, empathy, the quality of communications, and productivity. We have a long way to go before we will know the true costs and benefits of virtual or hybrid working. Let’s not make the usual mistake of treating this is simple – it isn’t. There are huge opportunities. But there are also serious negative impacts that must be identified and addressed. These will create even greater demand for management mastery. 2019 to 2021 gave HR an opportunity to shine … and, reactively, we did! 2022 will present an opportunity for us to be truly strategic, to not wait for the future to happen, but to create it for our organisations. We know what we need to do and 2021 should have given us the courage, and refined our personal effectiveness skills, to seize the moment –occasionem carpe! Let’s do it. Clinton Wingrove is the Principal Consultant, Clinton HR Ltd

This is the time to reframe our assumptions about work: Boston University’s Professor N. Venkat Venkatraman In a conversation with People Matters, Professor Venkat Venkatraman, David J. McGrath Jr. Professor of Management at Boston University, highlights the changes companies are making as they come out of the crisis C OVER

By Mastufa Ahmed



rofessor N. Venkat Venkatraman is the David J. McGrath Jr. Professor of Management at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. One of the world’s mostcited researchers in strategy and digital business, he has won prizes for his research. He has consulted and lectured all over the world, including teaching stints at MIT Sloan School and London Business School. In 2017, he authored The Digital Matrix: New Rules for Business Transformation Through Technology, LifeTree Media. In this conversation with People Matters, Professor Venkat talks about how we are adjusting our assumptions and expectations for the year to come.

How has the year 2021 been in the context of the world of work? What have been some of the positive trends that emerged during the year? I would characterise 2021 as an inflection point: a point in time for companies to revisit and reassess their assumptions and adjust their expectations. Innovations arise out of adversity

and challenges and COVID19 surely created chaos in terms of how we live and work (learn and play!). Specifically in terms of work, companies—across the board—rapidly adapted to virtual work with the available technologies and tools. In the beginning, some perceived the pandemic as temporary but soon realized that the shift is likely DECEMBER 2021 |



to be more permanent. That meant redesigning work. We saw that knowledge work—innovation, R&D, design, and related areas—could be redesigned more effectively across distance while production and related work—logistics, supply chains, maintenance, and related areas— posed more challenges. However, if there’s one silver lining in this oncein-a-century pandemic, it is that companies have paid more attention to the design of individual tasks as well as the redesign of work to be more resilient to disruptions and focus on the needs and wants of the workers. Some companies also learnt that some workers can more productively carry out their tasks remotely without the added burden of needing to come to specific locations. Historically, the mental model of production work was someone at the factory doing things with machines but now production work is remotely instructing work on the shopfloor. Historically, knowledge work was carried out by workers at desks in offices but now it is truly unbounded by desks or office buildings. As Sundar Pichai of Google said: “the future of work at Google is flexibility.” That’s a positive trend. Workers will be able to demand flexibility and design work | DECEMBER 2021

with greater balance than what was achieved before.

Do you see a synergy in terms of how the best companies are rallying to lead their organisations out of the crisis? How do you characterise the patterns? Let me highlight three patterns. One—leaders recognise the importance of not giving the organisation a false sense of comfort that we will somehow go back to the old normal. There’s no going back to the way things were before the pandemic; there’s only going forward to the next normal. Two—companies understand transformation and adaptation are necessary ways to become more efficient and effective, and use this crisis to come out stronger together. Do not let the crisis go to waste! Three—the leaders recognise and communicate that the pain will be shared to the extent possible. It’s not that the workers get to suffer the pain while the managers and shareholders get to enjoy the gains. The better companies see the need— now more than ever—to embrace and practice a more inclusive, collaborative approach involving the multiple stakeholders. Personally, I hope this trend continues—well into the future—not just to weather out this crisis.

What should be the key focus areas for HR and talent leaders globally as we enter 2022? I like to frame it in terms of five Rs. All need to be recognised in an interconnected fashion. Reframe. Start by reframing work with flexibility and resilience but focused on the future where there will be more automation and digitization. Recruit. The pandemic has also seen major disruptions in the labour force as many are leaving their current employers to find more purpose-filled jobs with greater flexibility. That means recruiting for talent is more important than before. Recruit those that will be fit-for-the-future rather than just those that fill today’s needs. Cast your net wide to recruit the future leaders. Retrain. Hybrid work and flexible work introduce significant culture changes. Retrain workers to understand the inevitable challenges and opportunities that arise from new ways of working that cut across time and distance. Retrain to fully understand the available technologies and tools as well as organisational protocols and norms to allow for individual freedom and collective collaboration. Retain. The postpandemic labour market

will be volatile and uncertain with an increased possibility of churn. So, in addition to focused attention to recruitment, companies must pay attention— renewed programmes, if you will—to retain employees. Reward. The market for talent is intense and there’s upward pressure on salary and compensation for the top performers. So, the final focus area should be on rewarding those that have the highest potential to lead the organisation towards a

ways of creating value through smart humans and powerful machines (robots, artificial intelligence systems, machine learning programs and so on) working together. That requires significant redesign of work (beyond the reasons brought about by the pandemic) and reskilling of the employee base. The 5Rs that I mentioned above must be approached from a future-proofing point of view. Reskilling and upskilling are key to ensure that

The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re-skilling and upskilling. How do you think workforce skilling will play out in 2022? My own research on digital transformation indicates that tasks will be progressively automated, requiring companies to explore

your organisations not only survive but thrive and lead in a digital future.

With hybrid work now becoming the norm, do you think this will exist for long beyond 2022? As I mentioned earlier, work is being redesigned continuously to take advantage of powerful tools and technologies. The pandemic has simply accelerated this shift. We may call it hybrid work or flexible work or automated work or remote work or some other labels. But, work in the late 2020s will look different with work

How can HR help leaders create transparent, and psychologically safe workplaces built on trust, equity and a sense of belonging? What should be the focus areas for talent leaders globally as they prepare for 2022? The leaders must be authentic and transparent. That’s the overarching requirement today. Talent leaders must encourage their workers to bring their ‘whole self ’ to work and not have to hide some parts as workers in the previous decades might have been forced to do. DECEMBER 2021 |


digital future; reward those that thrive in ambiguity and uncertainty and still excel; reward those that have adapted well to the present crisis.

It’s clear that the corporate world is experiencing a moment of awakening with regard to their efforts around diversity and inclusion? Will the focus on DE&I sustain for long? This is an important awakening as corporations mirror the society in which they operate. Social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion are values that the next generation deeply cares about. Hence, leaders need to recognise it as part of their outreach to the talent. And then, as the next generation takes over as leaders, they will implement and institutionalise it more naturally.


‘Tasks will be progressively automated, requiring companies to explore ways of creating value through smart humans and powerful machines. That requires significant redesign of work and reskilling of the employee base.’

being carried out everywhere using a wide range of personal productivity tools and collaboration channels.


The EX trends to keep an eye on in 2022 Futurist Jacob Morgan has his eye on a few things for 2022. Here’s what he’s flagging out for the coming year



By Jacob Morgan


remember when I first wrote my book, The Employee Experience Advantage, which came out in 2017, almost half a decade ago. At the time it was still a novel concept and idea. Some organizations gravitated towards it but many thought it wasn’t a necessary shift to focus on. Today, I’m very proud to say that Employee Experience has become the #1 talent trend (and dare I say business trend?) for organisations around the world. We finally realise that we need to move away from creating organisations where we assume people need to work there to creating organisations where

people want to work there. We are now seeing more employee experience job titles, branding and messaging, teams, and initiatives than ever before which is extremely exciting. Now that 2021 is coming to a close I wanted to share a few things that I’m going to be paying attention to for 2022.

A focus on the whole person

Organisations are now longer just places of work. They are therapists, restaurants, financial advisors, gyms, coaches, and career and life planners. This means we need to move away from looking at our

Organisations are now longer just places of work. They are therapists, restaurants, financial advisors, gyms, coaches, and career and life planners 44


people as just workers to understanding them as human beings.

Flexible work is the future of work

I’ve talked about this for many years but now flexible work is here to stay and I don’t mean virtual work. I absolutely believe that there is still a place for in-person work and relationships. But flexible work means we have more control of when, where, and how we work.

Redefining work

Over the past two years, organisations have had to take a step back to redefine what it means to be an employee, a leader, and what it even means to work. In 2022 we are going to go back to basics to revisit these definitions and concepts and recreate something for the new world of work that we are all a part of.

Employee experience will dominate

mation and HR leaders are going to be at the centre of that. Remember, the future of work isn’t something that happens to you, it’s something you help build. Play an active role instead of sitting around by the sidelines. There’s a famous saying, with great power comes great responsibility but the flip side of that is also true. With great responsibility comes great power and all of you reading this have great responsibility to make change which means you also have the power to make it. The question is, are you actually going to do something with that power?


longer in human resources; they must now think of themselves as being in human transformation. Never before have we needed HR to not think, act, and be like traditional HR. They must think more broadly about the future of work Getting creative with talent and how they can shape Every organisation is telland design it as opposed to ing me that they are feeladapting to it. HR profesing the talent crunch, mean- sionals also need to go on a ing it’s getting harder and massive education campaign harder to find, attract, and to let everyone else in the retain talent. To combat this organisation know who they are, what they do, and how organisations are looking beyond their own geographic they can help. I find that most people outside of HR locations, creating alumni have no idea what HR actunetworks, and are looking beyond traditional recruiting ally does. These are some of the big strategies to bring in talent. changes (along with a few It’s time to get creative. others) that I am going to be HR moves to Human Trans- paying to in 2022. It’s going to be an exciting year filled formation with growth and transforHR professionals are no


There’s lots of talk of the ‘Great Resignation’ but I prefer to look at it as the ‘Great Opportunity’. Meaning, now is the time to take advantage of the change we are seeing to truly put people first. We must focus on culture, technology, and space in order to create great employee experiences. For the companies out there who are willing to adapt, they will see tremendous success and progress.

HR professionals are no longer in human resources; they must now think of themselves as being in human transformation. Never before have we needed HR to not think, act, and be like traditional HR

Jacob Morgan is 4x Best-Selling Author, Speaker, & Futurist DECEMBER 2021 |


It is not about the leap but about the lunge in 2022 Companies will be tested on their hybrid focused priorities. And it will come into play while evaluating options, dealing with ambiguity and in showing flexibility and agility

New policies will have to be formulated especially around leave and compensatory off, which suit all three types of roles. Also, administration will have to factor the randomness in the utilization of facilities like meeting rooms, work areas, etc.



By Y Shekar



f ‘Covid’ was the word most often used in 2020, ‘hybrid’ will be that word in 2022! Hybrid – a mix of two distinct elements – will augur permanent changes around us in the coming few years. The ‘Hybrid’ word will also find new connotations and contextual references, making it a very versatile word too! Currently, in the business context, ‘Hybrid’ refers to work from home and from office. However, it is not going to be limited to the physical aspect of the workplace. ‘Hybrid’ will come into context while evaluating options, dealing with ambiguity and in showing flexibility and agility. It will also be an important factor in making policy decisions at the country level too. | DECEMBER 2021

Here is some context: It is evident – from surveys and common-sense – that when offices open, there will be three categories of people – those whose roles demand them to be at the workplace every day of the week. Some roles may need a frequent visit to the office – twice or thrice a week, perhaps. And then there will be roles that require a rare or occasional visit to the office.

While homes, during the pandemic, got transformed to become the workplace too, work-from-home (WFH) is poised to get a professional touch. For those wishing and able to WFH, they need to ensure that they have good acoustics, background and connectivity, which give a professional appearance to their digital presence. This also means having good computing systems with high pixel cameras and decent ambient lighting. Most of these may be part of a onetime cost for the employees. At the workplace, the proposition gets flipped.

The pandemic has taught us a multidisciplinary approach. Although the event was a subject of the healthcare domain, the solutions had to come from several other domains too – politics, economics, sociology, supply chain, customer relations, finance

Employees coming here must feel ‘homely’. They must be provided their comforts – breakfast and bean bags, conference rooms and coffees, high-speed networks and hi-fi infrastructure. Office also needs to have facilities for childcare, breaks to attend to the little ones, spaces for receiving and storing online deliveries …a blended environment that allows personal and professional activities to happen seamlessly.

hybrid. The conventional with the modern. Competition in 2022 will be between the standalone creators and super-app aggregators! The burgeoning start-up ecosystem believes in ‘failfast’ and ‘scale-fast’ models. They thrive on valuations and are known for their dynamism – they move from one industry to another merely by aggregating information. The existing, larger organisations are compelled to respond to the start-ups entering their domains, lest they face their ‘KodakMoment’. Hence, the traditional organisations are trying to get nimble and are demanding their workforces to get multi-skilled with a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving. Covid taught us a multiDECEMBER 2021 |


Thanks to Covid and the global lockdown, businesses discovered new ways to connect and conduct their activities. From sensing a great loss of opportunity to feeling anxious about outcomes, activities have been done with utmost caution and care. Employers showed a lot of compassion and empathy towards employees, and in return, employees stepped in to support the cause by stretching their time and re-skilling themselves. Everyone worked with the thought that the hard times will end soon. Large establishments are

entering the platform model in which their group companies continue with their existing business methods – the pre-covid format – but a new digital entity, with a super app, provides an overarching reach to markets, across industry verticals. The super apps give customers an access to interact with all the companies in the group individually and collectively. One can purchase washing machines and vegetables, subscribe for entertainment and education; renew insurance policy and inquire about healthcare services nearby….the list goes on. Platform model is an aggregation of market information using digital capabilities. Integrating this to their existing methods of production and distribution will be the business strategy. This is the business strategy


This the ‘physical hybrid’ - homes and offices mimic each other. However, the impact of this is on people having to frequently switch between home and office contexts, mentally and physically.




disciplinary approach. Although the event was a subject of the healthcare domain, the solutions had to come from several other domains too – politics, economics, sociology, supply chain, customer relations, finance, etc. And the leadership skill is in orchestrating the expert teams to arrive at an optimal solution. A balancing act! Job titles are changing – Customer Experience Manager; Employee Happiness Officer, Sentiment Analyst, Chief Design Officer, etc. are roles that cut

Decision makers know it is a fine balance of speed with sustainability, control with choices and gains with generosity across traditional notions of departments and functions. Job descriptions are also getting fuzzier – they are focused on outcomes than on skills and experiences. While an employee's past experience may be relevant, she needs to supplement it with some new skills which develop her capabilities for the multi-disciplinary roles. This is the role hybrid. For instance, in a people management role, it is important to understand the employee (skills and capabilities) along with her environment (family, friends, emotions and


desires), and in the business context, people expands to include the softer aspects of the company’s customers and suppliers. The role hybrid will have a more significant impact on future careers. While multi-disciplinary skills will be essential, the perspective and capabilities need to be global. During the pandemic, jobs moved to the best resource in the world. This makes hiring a globally competitive phenomenon. Every role can have competition from skilled resources present across the world.


So, Role Hybrid is not just about acquiring new skills but also becoming attractive to organisations anywhere in the world. In the connected global context, the environment is becoming highly transient. Hence, the quotient of ambiguity in decision making increases. More than data that can predict, business leaders and country heads need to rely on their gut and instinct for decision making. A policy on cryptocurrency – great technology but a classic case of ‘fluctuating fortunes’- is a stand-out example of volatility and

unpredictability around. While ‘cautious-optimism’ can be an advice provided, decision makers know it is a fine balance of speed with sustainability, control with choices and gains with generosity. Both are needed in good measures! This is the policy hybrid. One factor alone cannot be the basis for decisionmaking, however compelling the data around it be. Much of these are already known, but the act of implementing them in the hybrid format is going to be one of the biggest challenges for all leaders. It is far easier to do things in either online or offline mode, but doing in hybrid, will call for completely a new design thinking. Further, while becoming a subject matter expert was the mantra to success hitherto, the future demands supplementary skill-sets around behaviour, thought and imagination. Finally, while the office may provide all the physical comforts, it is important to keep the home, homely! That is the place for selfdevelopment, composure and true camaraderie! In 2022 – the Hybrid year – it is not the leap but the lunge you need to practice!

Y Shekar is a Management research scholar (Ph.D.) from University of Mysore. He is an executive coach and co-founder of a start-up.

2022: Are you on trend? Leaders that have a character that evokes trust, courage and curiosity are the ones that experts want to work with By Nalin Kumar Miglani


LEADERSHIP In: Character Out: Knowledge We were already clear that hierarchy and position are not viable levers for real leadership. We were learning to lead through expertise and knowledge. Sadly, that is not going to work anymore. When your job is to lead cloud experts, ML gurus, data scientists and git hub geeks, there is no way you can ‘out-knowledge’ or ‘out-expert’ them. They are themselves trying to either stay updated or create knowledge. And, they don’t have the time and patience to work with leaders that require time and effort to

manage. Leaders that have a character that evokes trust, courage and curiosity are the ones that experts want to work with. LIFE In: Integration Out: Work-Life Balance The hottest subject, for the longest time, on planet corporate, was ‘work-life balance.’ Life and work were perceived to be segregated and mutually exclusive. It was a zero-sum game. To have more life, you need to have less work. We actively disintegrated life into ‘life’ and ‘work.’ When you ‘went’ to work, you dressed ‘professionally’ — you became a different self. In your ‘hours of work,’ it was ‘unprofessional’ to do ‘personal’ stuff. DECEMBER 2021 |


MONEY In: Upfront cash. Out: Complex, long term retention schemes. In a sellers’ market, attraction takes priority over retention. It is simple. You cannot retain people that you don’t have. Bringing people into the door is top priority. Of course, attracting people is an outcome of many factors. But don’t overcomplicate it. The world is changing fast. Everyone knows it. Maximizing the value now is top of mind. People are betting on their

future more than the future of the companies they join.


fter two extraordinary years, we wait for 2022 with some anxiety and a lot of hope. We know that big change is round the corner. By now we have read, heard, and scrolled ten thousand LinkedIn posts about it. Yet, we are unclear on how we should prepare for 2022. Let us take a tentative peep round the corner and identify what 2022 is about to bring and what it is leaving behind. What is in? What is out?



During the last two years, we realized that life was not meant to be that way. We realized that a disintegrated life was the source of stress and a problem for mental health. Life was meant to have a purpose as a whole. Baking cookies is as much as a purposeful part of our lives as is attending meetings. We had purpose statements for companies we worked in, but not for ourselves. We are now ready to integrate work into our lives and not balance it separate from our lives. An integrated life — a source of mental health — includes purposeful work, relationships, curiosity, learning, sport and more. WORK In: Type Out: Size “I want to be a leader of teams.” This desire has burned in the hearts of so many corporate aspirants. The visualization of leadership has mostly existed on dimensions of size. Volume. Bigger budget. More geography. More people. This is an outcome of decades of ‘management’ thinking. If you are a manager, you need to manage. And if you become senior, you need to manage more. Creation is more valuable now than management. Building teams that create is more valuable than managing teams. People | DECEMBER 2021

Creation is more valuable now than management. Building teams that create is more valuable than managing teams join companies where the nature of work is uplifting, smart and market leading. What you do is more important than how much you do. Staying current, preferably ahead is more important than sitting on the top of a hierarchy. HR In: Designing Experiences Out: Measuring Engagement Think about retiring the phrase, “Hire to retire.” Think about “Attract” to “Alumni.” In the journey from ‘Attract to Alumni,’ thoughtfully designing employee experience in ‘moments that matter’ is in sync with the

notion that the employee is as much a consumer as a resource. Traditional methods of measuring engagement are too employer and manager centric. They are predicated on the idea that the employee is a managed resource: the belief that an engaged employee will provide more ‘discretionary effort.’ A creative, 360 re-design of employee experience in crucial moments will uplift HR and the employee.

Nalin Miglani is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer at Exlservice Hldgs Inc

Rising focus on sustainability, investment in automation: Forrester’s top business predictions for Europe in 2022


How will monthly resignation rates rise at companies with a fully in-office model? How will employee backlash grow as more employers monitor productivity? How has the pandemic shaped consumer expectations forever? Here is a quick look at some of the trends identified by Forrester that will affect businesses in Europe in 2022 By Shweta Modgil


fter two years of uncertainty, business and leaders have slowly adapted to the shifting realities. The business model has changed, the way we work has changed, employee expectations are changing, consumer preferences are changing, and even the regulatory regime is changing. These dynamics are compounded by the pandemic and supply chain disruptions. As a result, the need to act quickly and intelligently in the moment has never been so critical.

For leaders to act boldly, investing in technology and refocusing business strategies is paramount. So is understanding these shifting dynamics to forge a path to an agile, creative, and resilient tomorrow. What are some of these overarching trends that will shape the decisions of organisations and leaders in 2022, especially in Europe? Here are some of the trends identified by Forrester that will affect businesses in Europe in 2022. DECEMBER 2021 |




Companies with a fully in-office model will see resignation rates rise to 2.5% per month


Attrition at companies which fail at anywherework will rise

The report notes that companies with a fully in-office model will see resignation rates rise to 2.5% per month. While ten percent of companies will commit to a fully remote future, for the remaining 90%, vaccine mandates will lead to complications but won’t be the cause of most returnto office failures. The real pain will be felt at the 60% of companies shifting to a hybrid model: One-third of first attempts at anywherework simply won’t work. This is because while leaders will claim support for hybrid work but will still design meetings, job roles, and promotion opportunities around face-toface experiences. Also, a smaller number of failures will come from the 30% of | DECEMBER 2021

companies that insist on a fully in office model, only to find that employees simply won’t agree. Attrition at these companies will rise above their industry averages — monthly resignation rates will rise as high as 2.5% for as much of 2022 as needed until executives finally commit to making hybrid work. Jason Lee, Founder and CEO behind the fintech company DailyPay, shared, “The world of work needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, but this time, employers need to put the employees at the center of their considerations. When planning for hybrid work, it’s important for employers to remember that some employees will be concerned about their safety and wellbeing when coming back to the in-person work environment. It’s an employer’s responsibility to provide

adequate safety measures for their employees and foster a safe work environment.” “In an ongoing pandemic and even in a post-COVID world, there will always be employees who are apprehensive about safety, whether it be the number of people in the office at once or the number of times per week someone visits the workplace. To build a positive hybrid culture, it’s critical to understand that those are legitimate concerns, and to work with employees on a case-by-case basis to find a happy medium. Employers need to express to employees that they care about them and want to help.”

Sustainability takes centre stage

In the last 12 months, the EU has adopted a climate adaptation policy; introduced the first delegated act stipulating what counts as environmental objectives for EU climate adaptation and mitigation, and adopted a proposal to make corporate sustainability reporting standardised and mandatory for more companies from 2023. With this increased

focus on sustainability, 25% more EU companies — especially in financial services and retail — will add chief sustainability officers in 2022. Also, consumers in EU are sceptical; Forrester’s 2021 data reveals that just 34% trust companies when they say they will commit to reducing climate change. Hence greenwashers that have only embraced sustainability in their communications will struggle to adapt.

The pandemic has shaped consumer expectations forever As pandemic restrictions lift, companies and institutions have begun to resume some pre-pandemic ways of doing business and transitioning away from virtual options. However, that’s a mistake, because consum-

Tattleware adoption degrades employee experience by 5%, and employee backlash over tattleware will grow as employers attempt to monitor how often they click, what they click on, and when they are facing their computers



In October 2020, almost one in three European employees said that their employers used software to monitor their productivity while working from home. EU privacy regulators started fining companies for unlawful monitoring of employ-

their organisation about the benefits of the programme and ensure that employees understand the boundaries in place that prevent disproportionate and unethical monitoring.


Employee backlash grows as more employers monitor productivity

ees and expect more fines in 2022. Moreover, employee backlash over tattleware will grow as employers attempt to monitor how often they click, what they click on, and when they are facing their computers. In fact, the report points out that tattleware adoption degrades employee experience by 5%. What CISOs must do is strengthen the governance of their insider threat programme, establish clear and reliable risk escalation procedures that safeguard employees’ privacy, educate




ers have grown used to many of the services and will continue to want them. Forrester’s data reveals that one-half to two-thirds of US and European consumers say that the pandemic has changed how they shop for products. Brands that successfully navigate the transition to the new normal will avoid a complete reversion and analyse current customer insights and research to evaluate which services to keep, adjust, or toss. This is because customers will want over half of


consumers will buy from brands that match their values, driving brands to take further action.

Investment in automation continues to rise

It’s not a surprise that investment in automation will continue to rise. In 2020 alone, European enterprises invested a total of €1.88 billion in employee productivity automation tools such as digital process automation (DPA), digital decisioning platforms, workforce optimisation, conversa-

To build a positive hybrid culture, it’s critical to understand that those are legitimate concerns, and to work with employees on a case-by-case basis to find a happy medium pandemic-era services to become the “new normal.” Also, it’s not employees alone that want to work with organisations in sync with their values. Even consumers will buy from brands that match their values. According to Forrester Analytics data, 69% of European adults wish more companies were transparent about their business practices, and that figure is 87% for the most empowered consumers — they increasingly expect brands to use their platforms to contribute positively to society. In 2022, over 50% of European | DECEMBER 2021

tional intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA), and AI-based text analytics. Compound annual growth rates in 2022 will continue to be at around 33% for RPA and 13% for DPA. European businesses will invest up to €3.3 billion in automation to boost productivity. In addition, in 2022, Europe will invest in automation to boost productivity in traditionally low wage sectors such as retail and hospitality. Ashutosh Garg, Co-founder and CEO at talent intelligence platform seconded this.

“Automation in the EU isn't restricted to any industry or aspect of your company. Artificial intelligence in the hiring and talent management process is already being embraced, regulated and used to take organizations to a new level of success in today's unique work environment,” he said. “Why is that? Many think about AI as a gatekeeper – is it restricting the candidates we are seeing, or screening out people without the right skills? The answer is a resounding no. In fact, AI can be more efficient than any person, looking deeper into a person's ability to learn, grow and succeed than any resume could. For example, if someone has learned several coding languages in the last few years, it is more indicative that they could learn another that is trending up – is that skill more valuable than already knowing one coding language? In many cases, the answer can be yes. Additionally, AI can blind hiring processes from gender, location, age or even naming biases and focus only on the core ability a role requires. That is automation and AI at its best.”

Cyber insurance might lose some sting

Cyber insurance has been an important tool since its introduction but now ransomware attacks occur

In 2022, creativity, resilience, and agility fuelled by strong customer understanding and smart technological investment will separate leaders and laggards, no matter the industry

run off existing business in 2022.

Open finance continues to push more data sharing between companies

The push for open finance will yield more data sharing between financial and non-financial businesses. 2022 will see adaptive banks focus on the data mashups and co-created journeys they can weave with third parties. 2022 will also see the number of banks offering lifestyle platforms double — using “super apps” such as from Indonesia’s Sea, India’s Paytm, and Alipay and WeChat in China as inspiration. However globally, bank led lifestyle apps will still number fewer than 50.


every 11 seconds and extortion demands have gone up by 300% in just a single year, putting big dents in a once very profitable line. Cyber insurance premiums are up close to 30%, while the list of coverage limits and exclusions grows longer. More businesses might choose to self-insure or just go without. At the same time, the lack of and access to historical data and growing loss ratios for cyber lines continue to test underwriting and claims teams. Consequently, insurers have been collecting small premiums while facing near-infinite risks. Forrester predicts that at least one top 10 cyber carrier will cease writing new business and selectively

Last year, Forrester observed the COVID-era acceleration of emerging technologies becoming sustained adaptive innovation. In 2022, as COVID-19 pressures reduce, only the industry’s leaders will maintain the sharp focus required to continue differentiating with creative processes, organisations, products, and business models. The report predicts that only 10% of manufacturers will successfully operationalise COVID-era creativity. Ultimately, the report points out that in 2022, creativity, resilience, and agility fuelled by strong customer understanding and smart technological investment will separate leaders and laggards, no matter the industry. DECEMBER 2021 |


Only leading manufacturers sustain adaptive innovation


We might see a tight labour market again in a few months: Bjorn Jarvis, ABS Bjorn Jarvis, Head of Labour Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics talks to People Matters about the key shifts in Australia’s labour market trends and what the outlook for 2022 looks like



By Bhavna Sarin



jorn Jarvis is the current Head of Labour Statistics at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Passionate about storytelling through statistics, Bjorn has been with the ABS since 2005, and has worked in a broad range of roles across labour market and population statistics. He is regarded as one of Australia’s leading experts on measuring changes in the labour market. In this exclusive conversation with People Matters, Bjorn highlights the key shifts in Australia’s labor market trends and what the outlook for 2022 looks like.

As we enter the final quarter of 2021, how would you characterise the labour market in Australia? The Australian labour | DECEMBER 2021

Much higher numbers of people had held onto their jobs through the Delta lockdowns, compared to earlier points in the pandemic. This suggests we could be back to a relatively tight labour market in a matter of months... which may not be good news for employers looking for people market has generally been very resilient to the challenges of the pandemic, though some industries and groups of people have been exposed to the impacts of the challenges more than others – such as people in customer facing service industries. Across the board, many labour market indicators had already recovered in the first half of 2021, before the

recent Delta outbreak and its lockdowns and restrictions. This should bode well for a reasonably rapid recovery through the end of the year and into 2022. Recently we did some analysis of the extent to which people had retained attachment to their jobs during the lockdowns, with the data encouragingly showing that much higher numbers of people had held onto their

We have seen high numbers of people working reduced or no hours, but have also seen how quickly hours build back up after lockdowns ease and end.

What do the numbers show about difficulties in filling jobs in 2021? Demand for people has never been higher than it has been during 2021 - across all industries and states. To put this in context, by August 2020 the number of vacancies was already back to the same level as February 2020. By early 2021 they were much higher than they’d been before the pandemic - for some industries more than double! Apart from a drop early in the pandemic, there has generally been a higher proportion of employers recruiting than we’d


Have we seen any evidence of the ‘Great Resignation’ in Australia? We haven't yet seen any strong indication of a 'great resignation' occurring in Australia, but we will be interested to see what the November Labour Force statistics show, when they are released in December. Job mobility was lower than usual during the first year of the pandemic, so we may see some catch-up in the coming months, as people who put off changing jobs now make a move. That said, we haven't yet seen a large increase in people who expect to change jobs in the next year. The numbers in May and August

of 2021 were similar to last February, just before the pandemic hit. It’s also important to remember that job mobility in Australia has been trending down for decades. If we do see people being more mobile over the coming months, it will definitely be against the long-term trend.


jobs through the Delta lockdowns, compared to earlier points in the pandemic. This suggests we could be back to a relatively tight labour market in a matter of months, which may not be good news for employers looking for people. The hours that people work has seen the greatest change during the pandemic, and really highlight how different this period has been from labour market shocks in the past. Hours worked in Australia fell by 9.6 percent during the start of the pandemic and 5.6 percent during the recent Delta lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, with much larger falls within each of those three jurisdictions. These falls in hours have been much greater than the falls we've seen in employment and jobs.

Professional occupations increased by 21 percent over the five years before the pandemic more than double the growth rate for all other occupation groups DECEMBER 2021 |


closed international borders as a limiting factor. Interestingly, some employers also noted that the job location, type of job offered and conditions on offer - including pay - were also a problem in attracting talent. It will be interesting to see the extent to which employers make changes in what they’re offering, in response to this. Heading into the Delta outbreak, when the labour market was tight, a reasonable number of employers were planning to staff up

Of the businesses who were struggling to find people, around three quarters (74 percent) pointed to a lack of job applicants and around two-thirds (66 percent) noted that the applicants they had didn’t have the required skills or qualifications. Close to a third (32 percent) of them identified | DECEMBER 2021

(23 percent), retrain existing staff (22 percent), increase staff hours (17 percent) and/ or re-arrange job roles and responsibilities (16 percent).

group in Australia, accounting for 26 percent of employment during the pandemic and 25 percent just before the pandemic. This was up from 22 percent in 2011, 19 percent in 2001 and 17 percent in 1991. This increase in professional jobs is just one indicator of the extent to which the Australian workforce is becoming more highly skilled over time. In addition to being the largest group, it is also still the fastest growing group. Professional occupations increased by 21 percent over the five years before the pandemic - more than double the growth rate for all other occupation groups (9 percent) and almost double the rate of growth for employment as a whole (11 percent). People’s hours have been hit hard during the pandemic, but the hours worked by professionals have been impacted much less than the other occupation groups. Even during the Delta outbreak hours worked by professionals did not fall by much, compared to most other occupation groups, and especially when compared to the falls in hours at the start of the pandemic.

What is the outlook for professional jobs in Australia? Professionals continue to be the largest occupation

Do you think many people will continue to work from home in 2022? Will this be something that more employers offer and support as an



normally see. Just before the Delta outbreak, 22 percent of Australian businesses had at least one vacant job – which was double what it was before the pandemic (11 percent). Around the start of the Delta outbreak, around 27 percent of businesses were reporting difficulties finding suitable staff, which was a greater challenge for large businesses (43 percent) and medium-sized businesses (45 percent), compared with small businesses (26 percent).


By late April 2020, around 46 percent of employed people were doing some work from home – and this was noticeably higher for women (56 percent) than men (38 percent)

What key trends do you predict will shape the labour market in 2022? The questions we get asked for statistics on tend to provide a good sense of the key emerging trends in Australia. There will continue to be plenty of interest in how employers and employees respond to the likely tight labour market conditions


were doing some work from home – and this was noticeably higher for women than men (56 percent of women, compared with 38 percent of men). We’re in the process of looking at the data for the Delta outbreak now, which we will publish in December. It will also be something that we’ll see in 2021 Census data, when it’s released next year – particularly for people who were in Sydney in August.


ongoing way to attract and retain talented people? It will be interesting to see how the pandemic changes working from home and other forms of remote or multi-location work. With many more people and businesses having had experience during the pandemic, we could see a much higher proportion of people doing it – and businesses offering it - beyond the pandemic. People often forget that work from home was already on the rise before the pandemic. Around 30 percent of employed people were regularly working some of their week from home in August 2015, 31 percent in August 2017 and 32 percent in August 2019. This jumped quite dramatically in the pandemic, even in the early stages, in step with restrictions. By late April 2020, around 46 percent of employed people

during the post-Delta recovery period, particularly while international travel is still building back up. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in terms of job mobility and the extent to which pandemic working arrangements will continue and potentially accelerate changes in the workplace that were already happening before the pandemic, like more people working from home. Wage growth has been relatively low in Australia for a while now, so it will be interesting to see the wages that are offered and sought in 2022, particularly if the Australian labour market goes back to being tight and employers find it difficult to fill jobs. Lastly, Australians have generally taken less leave during the pandemic, so we might see higher than usual numbers of people taking holidays in 2022, particularly during January. I’m looking forward to taking some time off ! DECEMBER 2021 |


What we want most from HR in 2022: The business leaders speak Build a culture that enables employees; champion employee voices; be strategically focused. We hear from business leaders on their expectations for how HR can support them in the coming year By Mint Kang




s we wind down 2021 and gear up for 2022, one major strategic question HR leaders may be asking themselves is: how can we better support and collaborate with the business leaders, in order to contribute even more strongly to the broader organisational strategy? There's nothing like hearing directly from the business leaders themselves, and so People Matters asked three leaders from multinational companies for their thoughts on what they appreciate most from their HR counterparts, and what they hope that the HR function can do more of in the coming year.

Create the best kind of working culture

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive Officer Asia and Africa at insurance giant AXA, anticipates that AXA's HR team will place strong emphasis on creating a culture that enables and supports hybrid work, in line with the business strat60


Ensuring we have the right people in the right place has always been a core objective of our HR leaders. But these days, there is much more involved in achieving that goal Gordon Watson, Chief Executive Officer, AXA Asia and Africa

egy to roll out opt-in hybrid work worldwide. “It is important for the HR team to continue collaborating closely with our people across the region – via coaching with empathy, regular and transparent communication and information sharing – to create a working culture that maximises our productivity, collab-

oration, creativity, and individual wellbeing, while also being inclusive,” he told People Matters. “This can help managers and leaders to nurture empowerment and trust within their teams by coordinating around clear objectives, backed by strong support and greater flexibility, so as to achieve personal and organisational

Toby Rakison, Managing Director Asia for global interior design consultancy Unispace, wants his HR team to keep championing the voices of all indi-

As employee concerns continually unfold and evolve, HR leaders are in the best position to provide business leaders with insights on their needs and wants, escalate these accordingly, and identify ways for companies to respond Toby Rakison, Managing Director Asia, Unispace

learning and development, as well as customised training for the most lucrative and high-demand roles of the future.”

Be a business-centric, strategic function


Champion the voices of employees

viduals and groups across the company, and most particularly to look into how arrangements can be made for employees' unique needs – for instance, he pointed out, the overwhelming majority of women have had their lives disrupted by the pandemic, and are concerned about their career progression. “In the current climate, varying circumstances and backgrounds of employees should also be considered, especially since the pandemic has affected demographic groups differently,” he said. “Issues around childcare, flexible working schedules and the ability to work from home have increasingly emerged as topof-mind for working women. Beyond making these benefits available across the business, employers should also focus on education – which takes the form of career planning, investments in


resilience and meet our customer needs.” The development and propagation of AXA's organisational culture, in fact, is among the work he has found most helpful so far. “Ensuring we have the right people in the right place has always been a core objective of our HR leaders,” he said. “But these days, there is much more involved in achieving that goal. A big part of it is to facilitate the spread of the company’s culture by supporting and coaching line managers to deliver people solutions and change, while helping to drive business performance.”

Alfred Lee, President Industrial Asia Pacific at international automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler – one of the world's largest family-owned firms – wants his HR team to continue evolving away from an operational focus and take a more strategic approach. “People play a critical role in any business strategy,” he said. “Hence as a bridge between the organisation and employees, HR forms a crucial part in developing the right talent and capability in enabling business DECEMBER 2021 |



strategy. I believe HR leadership is the most effective when they are involved in strategic business decisions.” This means stepping out of their comfort zone: adopting a business-centric mindset beyond just an HR-centric view of their day-to-day roles. “It means having a say in evaluating the overall business strategy through the lens of capability and cultural issues and bringing in qualitative data to drive transformative change to meet business challenges and objectives,” he added. “By having a keen understanding of the value and impact they bring towards the organisation's overarching business strategy, the HR function would be better aggregators of talent while facilitating the right approach in engaging people and leaders toward organisational transformation and development.” | DECEMBER 2021

Most of all, keep bringing employee voices to the leaders' ears

All three of the leaders we spoke to said they most want HR to continue identifying and raising employee needs so that the business leaders can make the right decisions around people and the workplace. “Connecting with employees and listening to their feedback on a regular basis is a key part of maintaining ongoing engagement and creating an inclusive workplace culture,” said AXA's Gordon Watson. Pointing to the regular pulse survey that the AXA HR team conducts to gauge employee thoughts on making AXA a better workplace, he said: “Such findings, complemented by practical, strategic recommendations are useful for leadership teams to better understand our employees and prioritise initiatives that truly cater to their needs.”

It's also critical for talent retention and development, said Schaeffler's Alfred Lee. “HR can facilitate this by being the voice for employees by listening to their challenges and finding a win-win solution to overcome them with the management team,” he noted. “At Schaeffler, there are robust employee engagement frameworks and initiatives in place that encourage dialogues between our employees and leaders from our board – creating a productive twoway direct communication in finding common ground and solutions on critical issues.” And it helps in personalising the solutions that the business rolls out for individual employees, added Unispace's Toby Rakison. “Across a company’s workforce, there are various worker demographics with differing needs and desires. In catering to these, individual expectations must be considered, and alignment between the people and business agendas should be achieved,” he pointed out. “As employee concerns continually unfold and evolve, HR leaders are in the best position to provide business leaders with insights on their needs and wants, escalate these accordingly, and identify ways for companies to respond.”

Family businesses can bolster economic growth, but the tight labour market is a big challenge: Sally Craig

In t e r v i e w

With more people seeing the benefits and opportunities of working from home and turning their ‘side-hustle’ into a full-time business, family businesses will continue to have an enormous role to play in Australian and New Zealand economies now and well into the future, says Sally Craig, GM People & Culture Kennards Hire By Drishti Pant


n Australia, family businesses represent 67 percent of all operating businesses, whilst in New Zealand, 75 percent of consumers trust family businesses more than nonfamily businesses, according to a recent KPMG report, With more ease of doing business and the rise in remote work

culture, family businesses have the potential to further grow and expand. However, the tight recruitment market poses a threat to their growth. To compete in the war for talent, family businesses need to get the basics right and focus on improving their employees’ experience. But where do they start? DECEMBER 2021 |


In t e r v i e w

“Focusing on the engagement, retention and talent growth of your current workforce is critical, particularly for familyowned businesses,” says Sally Craig, GM People & Culture Kennards Hire, in an interview with People Matters. Sally Craig has been with Kennards Hire since February 2016. Her experience in human resources and organisational change spans over twenty years, across a wide range of industries, which include telecommunications, travel, government, freight and logistics and, more recently, hire. Prior to joining Kennards Hire, Sally worked at companies such as StarTrack, Lonely Planet and Telstra, taking up leading roles that involve the design, development, and implementation of people and organisational development and change programmes.

Sally believes that connecting all aspects of the business not only results in a more productive and engaging organisation, but also ensures people achieve personal satisfaction and growth from their success. When asked how she expects Australia and New Zealand's economy to recover, she told us: “We are already seeing high levels of activity in our business as strong investment in infrastructure and the housing market continues. The pandemic proved that as individuals, as a business we are versatile, adaptive, agile, and willing to embrace change quickly.”

Family businesses play a role on the path to recovery

The impact of the pandemic on family businesses has been varied, with some businesses hit hard, whilst others have had the opportunity to grow and evolve through

With more ease of doing business and the rise in remote work culture, family businesses have the potential to further grow and expand



Asking, ‘What can we do to ensure our people want to stay with our business?’ and then acting upon that is key “One thing we have noticed is the increase in employees wanting more flexible working arrangements. Kennards Hire had these opportunities in place before the pandemic. However, we are going to see it become the new normal, rather than the exception,” she added. Kennards Hire is also aiming to support employees’ career development and engagement through providing additional upskilling opportunities, which will ideally provide impetus for employees to remain committed and loyal. The firm is also focusing on a referral program where current employees are encouraged to refer new people to the business and receive a reward for doing so. “We know our people love working for Kennards Hire and the family culture is well valued, so they are the best people to refer like-minded people to our business,” added Sally. DECEMBER 2021 |

In t e r v i e w

not only the industry they are in, but also through stabilising their business operations and innovating their product or service offering, whilst simultaneously laying the foundation for their companies’ future. Sally shared that with more people seeing the benefits and opportunities of working from home and turning their ‘side hustle’ into a full-time business, family businesses will continue to have an enormous role to play in our economy now and well into the future. However, family businesses across Australia and New Zealand need to prepare for some talent challenges. For instance, the halt on immigration and various government incentives offered during the pandemic has led to a shortage of talent. “Focusing on the engagement, retention and talent growth of your current workforce is critical, particularly for family-owned businesses,” suggests Sally. “Asking, ‘What can we do to ensure our people want to stay with our business?’ and then acting upon that is key.”


Soumyasanto Sen

The rise of People Analytics

Data & analytics

People analytics is not just a tool for HR, but for all business functions. Here, we look at a few of the uses of people analytics and the challenges involved


n 2022 the postCOVID-19 world will have changed in ways that will intensely affect the workforce environment. A shifting economic landscape, technological innovations, and new work models are all drivers of change today and in the future. These changes will impact the future for business leaders as they make workforce decisions. Today’s business leaders face the stacked challenges of determining the future trends and drivers, how they will combine to shape the end, the implications for their organisations, and what capabilities are required to meet these challenges.

The role of data and people analytics

Organisations that make data-driven decisions about their people already realise higher performance, better outcomes, and a much better return on results than those that don't. To achieve those 66


better business outcomes and successful organisational transitions, many organisations are moving towards data-driven actions. Specifically, they are looking into the use of people analytics. People analytics is no longer only at the centre of the HR community; other business functions have also recognised its importance in improving growth, performance, and productivity. They need people data to analyse, plan, and make

evidence-based decisions on various people functions such as joining, leaving, performance, pay, retention, engagement, succession, learning, leadership, behaviours, and others. The objective is to solve the real business problems associated with people. In addition, people data also plays a role in delivering the highestquality customer service, bringing innovation, and helping to transform the business.

Challenges for adoption

In many organisations, people analytics is seen as nothing more than reports, dashboards, metrics, and elaborate visualisations. However, the correct use of data and analytics can add massive value to the business. Current digital HR solutions are undoubtedly improving, but challenges exist while integrating this with other business data, finance, or sales. Therefore, more emphasis needs to be placed on digital and

ing a checklist for change management, organisations should listen to the employee's voice and adopt this input to identify key drivers of change. The value of data democratisation is also very high. More people access the data easily and quickly, and more organisations can identify and act on critical business insights. In addition, when organizations allow data access to multiple levels, it empowers individuals at all ownership levels and

analytics solutions that allow for seamless integration and collaboration with other business-related solutions, shifting the focus onto resolving business and workforce-related challenges. Organisations need data to assess risks, growth, adoption, and usage related to the changes in leadership and culture when considering transformation. It is necessary to recognise changing behaviours, ways of working, and ongoing collaboration among the workforce. Instead of implement-

grants them the ability to use the data in their decision-making process. Giving people extended access to information and keeping it all within a single platform is necessary for any business that needs to empower its employees to make informed decisions.

The continuing evolution Organisational change associated with transformation is not simple as it requires an adaptive strategy by leaders who can foster a culture of adopting change. The demand for an adap-

Data & analytics

People analytics is no longer only at the centre of the HR community; other business functions have also recognised its importance in improving growth, performance, and productivity

tive approach has arisen from the constant changes within the workforce and workplaces and uncertainty. Therefore, capturing the correct data is essential to hypothesise, analyse, measure, and generate insights using exploratory data analysis to make better decisions for these changes. As the approach to data capture constantly evolves, so too is the sophistication of people analytics with the augmentation of areas like organisational network analysis (ONA), cultural analytics, workplace analytics, and others. With these new applications, organizations can gain new and increasingly in-depth insights from analysing behaviors, values, relationships, workplace habits, and social sentiments of the workforce. All these, in turn, can help them improve employee experience, future learning, and many other business challenges. Ultimately, though, the greatest evolution is in our ability to identify problems and objectives. Whatever platforms or tools we use; the starting point is always business problems and the end point is reached through developing actionable insights. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Soumyasanto Sen is a Digital HR, Transformation & People Analytics leader. Soumya is the founder of the Frankfurt-based advisory firm People Conscience. DECEMBER 2021 |


In t e r v i e w

Challenge assumptions before reinventing organisations: Riot Games’ Dr. Susan Chen Organisations cannot blindly follow trends in redesigning themselves, they have to look into what transformation means uniquely to their organisation and their people, advises Dr. Susan Chen, Director, Head of People-HK &SG Game Development Studios, Riot Games By Asmaani Kumar



s we come to embrace a new world of work in 2022, organisations have to invest in well thought out strategies to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. At the same time, in the face of dominant workplace trends, leaders have to pave the right path for their people and their business to thrive, which calls for a meaningful workplace transformation. In a recent conversation with People Matters, Dr. Susan Chen, | DECEMBER 2021

Director, Head of People-HK & SG Game Development Studios, Riot Games shares insights on the need to break away from the comfort of best practices and engage in leadership conversations with a data-informed approach to deliver what best serves your organisa-

tion and your people. Susan works with teams and leaders to develop talent strategies and interventions that build capabilities for sustainable growth across a broad range of companies, including a healthcare startup in Indonesia, a fintech MNC in Singapore and a

national energy company in Norway. She is a strong advocate for financial and educational inclusion, and has worked and lived in Taiwan, New Zealand, UK, Norway, Singapore and Indonesia. She received her PhD with a focus on knowledge management from the University of Stavanger, Norway, and is completing further education in the areas of educational psychology and research from Massey University, New Zealand. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

From a recruitment perspective, as the world of work becomes more global but at the same time less mobile, our ways of working have to be increasingly agile. This involves bringing about a sustainable change in the relationships of people with their work which has been triggered by the external environment of a global pandemic kicking in. One sustainable practice from a recruitment point of view then is: how do we think about agility and mobility not from a locational point of view but from the way we work? How can we go about building teams that can work as effectively or even more in a distributed approach, which is starkly different from expecting all teams to be in the same location? From a talent management point of view, this then asks for initiating learnDECEMBER 2021 |

In t e r v i e w

One other big trend is about how we can move away In the last one year, we have from the comfort of best witnessed immense changes practices, knowing that the in the world of people and way things were done before are no longer going to make work from the rapid digital meaningful headway into transformation to the ‘Great Resignation’. From your expe- solving problems for tomorrow. This also links to how rience in the HR world, what we can build our teams or are some of the trends and changes that will have a signif- employees in a fashion that recognises them as a whole icant impact on how busihuman being rather than a nesses will carry themselves human at work. We have to forward in the coming year? move beyond thinking about There are many differproductivity and wellbeing at ent micro-trends ongoing work and look at the larger from the distributed workpicture in terms of mental force to digital transforhealth for instance. In other mation as well massive words, a holistic approach to changes in learning and taking care of your people. people processes but fundamentally, one of the biggest What are some of the changes is the mindset shift. sustainable practices and This involves building agility interventions that talent leadinto the way organisations ers and recruiters must initiare designed, team making ate? What are some of the and even into the taken potential challenges in the for granted, structured HR field of talent that must be frameworks with which we overcome? approach problems.


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ing, people development or any type of initiative that is employee led rather than purely organisational strategy led. There always needs to be a balance but this is critical to shifting the process to enable the employee to be the focus of that experience. A tactical example would be when we think about operations, do you think about where we can find the best talent or strategically try to find them in the same location? That will have an impact on the way you design your teams and the way you work. The key challenge in this endeavour is that organisational design, embedded HR processes, leadership and its system of values are not designed to keep up with the changes that are going on. A company which worked in one location cannot simply commit to becoming a distributed workforce because that requires strategic thought on organisational culture, the type of leadership, performance management and even goal setting. It is a massive cultural shift which demands strategic insights for it to be sustainable. Redesigning your workforce is critical for it enables you to get the best out of your distributed workforce.

In light of the gaps that continue to exist when delivering on building an inclusive, empathetic work culture, 70


what are some of the values and strategies that will enable leaders to meaningfully transform the employee experience? The keyword here is meaningful transformation so the fundamental thing is how do we recheck our organisational assumptions about what collaboration looks like or team effectiveness or even talent. Challenging our assumptions is the number one thing we have to do before we reinvent our organisation. This then goes back to inclusivity, empathy, work culture. Finding these answers enables you to rebuild your organisation and transform. This enables a vision and a path towards that future. Our world has gone through a tremendous change in light of the global pandemic and it would be unrealistic for any organisation to say that they won’t change. But organisations cannot blindly follow trends either, they have to look into what transformation means in its unique way to their organisation and their people. This goes back to what I said earlier about the need to break linkages from best practices because strategies have to be designed so that they serve your organisation and teams. A macro-level strategy would be a deep conversation at the senior leadership level regarding our

core organisational assumptions because they will be the catalyst of change in times of crisis. In an ideal world, employees will be a part of the conversation but on a pragmatic level, you want the leadership angle so that there is commitment from the top. The involvement of employees comes from the data so collected about them; it comes full circle because you start at the leadership, move ahead to get their insights through conversation and then come back to the leadership level for final decision making and implementation. A second practical step delves into the importance of being data informed which is different from data driven. A data driven approach places data at the center of decision making whereas a data informed approach recognises a pattern but your decisions might not necessarily be aligned to your data. I raise this point because data will play a significant role in reinventing your business.

Digital transformation continues to take centre stage in the world of people and work. What role will digital tools play in the year 2022 and how can companies ward off a potential digital disruption? I don’t think we should try to ward off digital disruption because it is a beautiful way to innovate. What we can do

In the coming year, what are some of the HR initiatives that top your list in innovating the people and business strategy? What are some of

the workplace trends and innovations that you are looking forward to? There are two things that I am really looking forward to. One is how do we truly make a distributed workforce a mainstream approach rather than an exception. I am excited about organisations having the conversation to reimagine their workforce to make it more hybrid and building a truly agile workforce. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to work with teams and organisa-

actional learning process meant for organisational development only. I also believe there will be a lot of progress in learning technology, immersive and integrated learning experiences will be facilitated through a digital platform.

Finally, what are some words of advice that you would like to share with fellow HR leaders as we get ready to reinvent the world of work in the year 2022. My first advice is really about focusing on what’s to

A data driven approach places data at the centre of decision making whereas a data informed approach recognises a pattern but your decisions might not necessarily be aligned to your data tions to build that true agility into your organisational design. Another aspect that I am really excited about is reinvention of organisational learning. We have to think holistically about developing our employees. One of the major shifts is how do we develop them to become curious learners with an independent and growth mindset. This will bring back an indirect positive impact upon the organisation as opposed to the trans-

In t e r v i e w

as organisations and leaders is to prepare ourselves for the disruption. We have to recognise that digital transformation will continue from communication tools to product transformation technologies. What is really important is deriving meaning in the transformation you carry out for your business. Not everyone needs to have the most high end technologies. What is important in this preparation is that the purpose and meaning of the company really needs to be solid for you as a leader and your employees. One danger in digital transformation is that we assume that digital is going to solve social problems. But the use of digital platforms can at times even destroy the social infrastructure you were trying to build in the first place. Digital transformation has to be backed by a very clear purpose of what the company sets out to do. Digital is only a lever, it is not the only thing you’ll need to bring meaning to your people and customers. If the most innovative technology is not fundamental to building the foundation of your organisation, then it's okay and we should be okay with that.

come and not what has been, so don’t rely on best practices. This is so that you derive meaning from your organisation in the strategies so designed. My second advice is at the individual level about activating curiosity, teambuilding and growth mindset. We as HR leaders need to grow ourselves and take the opportunity, the leadership responsibility, to go above and beyond in building our teams and activating their curiosity and growth mindset as well. DECEMBER 2021 |


Dr M Muneer

Change Agenda: Metrics and targets that drive both performance and behaviour

S t r a t e g y

Anyone can set metrics and targets, but ensuring that these drive the desired outcomes – whether in terms of performance or behaviour – is more complex. Here is some strategic guidance for using metrics to drive the change you want



ou get what you measure, not what you expect. I am sure you have all experienced this during annual performance reviews. Subordinates argue on issues that don’t find a match with the expectations of the boss. People pay attention to what is measured and not what is expected. If metrics are to be successful on your change agenda, they should drive behaviour, not just performance. Nine out of 10 organisations fail to execute their strategy mainly because they don’t spend enough time and effort in fixing the right metrics and appropriate targets, other than for financial objectives. The CEOs I talk to think it is a piece of cake to put measures and targets but when they get involved in the process, they realise it is the most complex thing to do. We have had senior management spending a | DECEMBER 2021

couple of days on finalising metrics that matter. Successful organisations use metrics and targets to manage performance and gain insights around the assumptions that form their strategy. For meticulous execution of strategy, senior leadership must capture the drivers or the action items that are needed to achieve the outcomes specified by the strategy, Strategic ob-

jectives are linked in such a way that there are causeand-effect relationships between the various parts of the strategy. Metrics of the strategic objectives must reflect these linkages. These are best captured in frameworks such as the balanced scorecard.

Creating the right linkages Almost always most organisations cannot commit

Do your metrics link drivers and outcomes in a way that makes sense to your strategic objectives? If metrics are to be successful on your change agenda, they should drive behaviour, not just performance successful communications incidents” was set for the driver and a target of say 50 per month. Now, you establish a metric for the desired customer-response outcome like “average time to respond” with a target of 2 days. The question is whether completing 50 successful communication incidents leads to enabling prompt response to your customers. You may find either of the following: The outcome is achieved without the driver delivering its target; or the desired outcome is not achieved despite the driver exceeding its target. In this

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resources that are required for every objective, which is where metrics come to the rescue. Metrics will reveal areas where performance is below par and enable leadership team to decide on where to allocate resources and from where to redirect it. Leaders can also assess the risks associated with the current performance if other objectives are more important to the success of the strategy. In many enterprises, subordinate business units will have metrics that are same as the higher level. The idea of cascading metrics is important when it comes to effective execution at lower levels of operations. This will create what I call “metric hierarchy” which results in measuring similar things but at different levels. While considering the metrics, look for both expected outcome (lag) metrics and outcome driver (lead) metrics. Lag metrics focus on the performance results at the end of the specified period (weekly or monthly) and lead metrics focus on intermediate activities, processes or behaviours that drive the results. Examine also the assumptions about drivers and outcomes. Do you think that having effective communication links (driver) will deliver prompt customer response (outcome)? Let’s say a metric “number of

situation, you may want to reflect on the following: • Are there other drivers that can generate the desired outcomes? • Are the set targets accurately representing the desired outcomes? • Are there other key drivers to be measured in order to get the desired outcomes? • Are the targets set too low? Typically metrics must serve two purposes – organisational motivation, and evaluation and strategic learning. The desired behaviour is achieved by directing employee energy to what are DECEMBER 2021 |


S t r a t e g y

most critical to strategy. What many organisations fail at is using their metrics for strategy evaluation and strategic learning. That is because they are not identifying the relationships between strategic objectives. We will be able to achieve many other benefits by identifying the right metrics: Focused investment in what is most critical, test the causeand-effect linkages among the various objectives, and make strategy a continual process by constantly checking assumptions.

Identifying the right metrics

In our consulting, we typically use a variety of methods to identify the right metrics. From reviewing existing measures and adapting the process control metrics to reviewing the corporate level metrics and developing new ones from scratch. We also encourage organisations to find subject matter experts (SMEs) while identifying the right metrics, such as in the case study below.

Case Study: Using Subject Matter Experts How we identified subject matter experts We started our metric identification process by identifying subject matter experts (SMEs) for each strategic objective we have decided as part of the balanced scorecard. The SMEs were needed to understand what drives the performance achievement of each objective specifically, and to identify the best ways to measure them. We provided the SMEs with metric templates that described the objective and listed the information we needed from them. For example, metric type, the formula for the measurement, and the source of the performance data for the metric. Each SME then identified potential metrics for the objectives they have expertise on.

Evaluating potential metrics The leaders who owned the objectives met with the SMEs to discuss and identify potential metrics for each of their objectives. While some metrics clearly provided the required information, many of them required additional work to be useful. By combining our knowledge of the scorecard process and the goals with the SMEs’ expertise, we were able to identify areas where the proposed metrics didn’t meet the criteria.

Revising and finalising the metrics The SMEs went back and worked on the metrics that are most suitable for the objectives. Interestingly, in our case, we found an existing metric for every objective on our scorecard. However, we used existing metrics for about 50% of our objectives. The rest required new ones or significant changes to existing ones.

When reviewing existing metrics in the enterprise, use the following steps: Collect all existing metrics from the numerous reports, discard the majority of them except for a few critical ones that the top leadership monitors for performance, evaluate current performance and decide whether each metric

Many organisations fail at using their metrics for strategy evaluation and strategic learning, because they are not identifying the relationships between strategic objectives. So how can we identify and properly use those relationships? 74


is driving desired performance. Some metrics can be evolved from process control measures. As every executive knows, a process is a sequence of actions that result in a desired outcome. A process control metric provides end-to-end view of how inputs get converted into outputs. The processes are the ones an organization must do to get the financial performance as planned. Some of the familiar process control metrics include six sigma, TQM, statistical process control and theory of constraints. All of these provide a set of tools to assess the effectiveness

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not be a consideration when setting targets. Think of targets as a comprehensive set of performance goals that defines the success of the enterprise strategy. The targets also play a crucial role in helping leaders to allocate resources. If the target is set too high, leaders might end up allocating more resources to that objective that could have been better used for some other objective. Similarly if huge deadline is as bad as no tarresources are allocated to get – you can claim whatevsmall performance improveer you have achieved as sucments, resource efficiency cess, and some organisations will suffer. – including governments – do By highlighting perforthis. mance shortfalls, targets also Specifying targets is most help leaders decide whethimportant from a strategy er to provide additional execution point and drivresources or accept the risks ing performance since they associated with the shortfall. allow the top leadership to As someone famously said, a communicate the needed pervision without resources is formance levels and get the hallucination! focus of the entire enterprise Here are a few techniques on performance improvewe have found most useful to ment by driving behaviour. set better targets: Typically individual employ• Start deriving targets ees decide how to achieve from higher goals always the targets and they want to • Decide required improveThe right target is equally achieve them too. But some ment in overall perforcritical of them may find ways to mance A desired and quantifiable manipulate the actual results • Try benchmarking against level of performance withthan to change their ways of other similar enterprises, in a specified time period doing things. The right taror as we do, against global is what a target represents. gets will remove such barribest practices Every strategic objective that ers to performance. • Establish a baseline perhas one or two metrics must While targets are done for formance setting, even if have a target specified in individual objectives, they it is an assumed level order for an organisation to are all interlinked at the know if its strategy is a suchighest level. Since all organ- ABOUT THE AUTHOR cess. This is not something isations have limited resourc- M Muneer is the Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist at the non-profit all organisations are comes, some targets will not be fortable. A target without a met for sure. But that should Medici Institute. Twitter @MuneerMuh DECEMBER 2021 |

of your processes. However they don’t tell you the steps that must be taken in a particular process to get your strategy executed. Balanced Scorecards play that role: it identifies which objectives are strategic and must be monitored critically. The process control system oversees how they will be measured. Enterprises can combine these systems to close the gap between strategy and operations well. In developing process metrics, follow the steps below: • Define what actions must be taken and accomplished to achieve the desired objective. • Find what is most critical to your organisation’s success. For a business it has to be financial goals. • Align steps to results. How do the process steps support the critical objectives? • Finalise the metrics. Which ones would best represent how well each step is performed?


Visty Banaji

Diversity delivers dividends Diversity of gender, caste, race and religion are essential for social justice. There are, however, other diversities that we need to pursue for sheer performance and competitive advantage

The road less travelled



ome of our most seemingly advanced techniques for recruitment, health checking and people management may be greatly inimical to what we need to do to exploit the competitive advantages we can gain from diversity. When HR hears of diversity, gender inclusiveness (as sacralized in corporate headquarters ranging from 120ºW to 15ºE or from models in Menlo Park) is usually the sole and almost Pavlovian response. A few gadflies may, at best, prompt a secondary focus on affirmative action for Dalits and tribals.1 Let me insist upfront that all these diversities are vital and much work remains to be done for them (particularly the last two). While they certainly have the potential to yield great business benefits, their central justification is equity and justice. This column deals with two other forms of diversity whose prime purpose is the competitive advantage they | DECEMBER 2021

bestow on organisations that take them seriously. Both Educational Diversity (Edudiversity) and Neurological Diversity (Neurodiversity) can certainly also be defended on grounds of fairness but they have a direct and immense business benefit that few organisations have yet exploited.


A little after 600 CE, Isidore, Bishop of Seville, put together a compendium of much of the essential

learning of the ancient Greco-Roman and early Christian worlds. We may be amused at some of the anachronistic concepts and factoids it contains. Our condescending smiles turn to open-mouthed admiration, however, when we take stock of the sheer breadth of topics the 449 chapters (across twenty volumes) the Etymology covers. Agriculture, anatomy, astronomy, biology, chemistry, grammar, law, mathematics, medicine,

discipline could make to a commercial enterprise. I eschew this track not only because the number of subjects is so much larger than it was in Isidore’s time, making it practically impossible to recruit from each (or even to write about them all in a single column) but because we stand a very good chance of missing the forest for the firewood in doing so. What we need to identify is a meaningful diversity of mindsets and, for our purposes, grouping them into three mind-frame creators will suffice. Since most current corporate recruitment falls into just the first of these categories, the addition of two more will be a sufficient agenda augmentation to keep us busy over the next few years as we gain acceptance, refine selection techniques and integrate the new flow into teams. The threefold categorization of Edudiversity proposed here

is based on the manner in which disciplines acquire knowledge and skills as well their way of using them. Naturally, these groupings and the generalizations about them that follow are rather broad and low on nuance. As Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein point out, however, subtlety often succeeds only in increasing 'noise'. On the other hand, frugal models that look "ridiculously simplified … can produce surprisingly good predictions."3 The most familiar category consists of the Know How (KHow) disciplines. Almost our entire sourcing for managerial positions comes from a double layer of KHow education. The near-ubiquitous KHow MBA is preceded in 85% of cases (according to some sources) by the KHow BE.4 Similarly, the KHow CA (or equivalent) that is the mainstay of some organisations and functions has the KHow


The road less travelled

religion, shipping, tools and war, all have their place.2 It is an astonishing feat. What is even more amazing is the extent to which, 1,400 years later, corporate recruiters believe narrow focus, specialization and immediately usable competencies are a better substitute than an updated Etymology-equivalent curriculum for facing an uncertain future with a high rate of infant-technology mortality. Granted the accretion of knowledge at an ever-increasing pace makes it difficult to create individuals with such superRenaissance versatility but surely it is feasible to aggregate individuals with Edudiversity into teams that collectively display such multi-faceted sparkle. There are two ways to justify Edudiversity. The obvious one is to go subject by subject and project the kind of contribution a person proficient in that


The road less travelled 78

B Com as its near invariant antecedent. Organisations love people who know how to do things and promptly go ahead and do them (preferably unquestioningly).5 I have no problem if KHows constitute a very major part of the intake – they just shouldn’t be all of it. The next come the Know Why (KWy) disciplines. These are the ones (best exemplified by the natural and behavioural sciences) that prompt their learners to figure out, from first principles, why things happen the way they do. A few KWy mindset people (including B Techs from some of the IITs) do get recruited into commercial enterprises. Where KWy mind-setters are given free scope, a new level of innovation suffuses the organisation. Two of my first bosses in HR had Masters’ degrees in Physics and what advanced research


in Physics lost, both corporate India and I personally, gained from their creativity.6 The category that finds the least representation in India’s corporate firmament is from the disciplines that equip people to Know What is worth doing and What Not to do (KNot). A rather convoluted way of describing what a Liberal Arts education aims to do but it expresses the value KNot mind setters can bring to the corporate world. Apart from a tendency to have a wholistic rather than an analytic view of reality, KNots too display a high degree of creativity but in an intuitive fashion rather than one derived logically from first principles like the KWy. Most importantly, they have the mental ruggedness to play the devil’s advocate and question accepted wisdom (or glib justifications for deviating from core

values). A few KHows and KWys acquire an overview of KNot disciplines along their career journeys but this is a matter of happenstance. A more certain way to prevent sliding into noisecaused errors of judgement, stodgy repetitions or moral morasses is to deliberately recruit for these contra mindsets. "Organisations that want to harness the power of diversity must welcome the disagreements that will arise when team members reach their judgements independently. Eliciting and aggregating judgements that are both independent and diverse will often be the easiest, cheapest, and most broadly applicable decision hygiene strategy." Providing KHows with intense learning opportunities is certainly one way to bring innovation-spurring and value-guarding

diversities into organisations. I owe an immense debt to the National Institute of Advanced Studies, conceived by J R D Tata and designed under the genius of Dr Raja Ramanna, where I was privileged to be in the first batch in 1989. While the programme did provide Edudiversity for budding leaders, it lasted 5-6 weeks and I do not see too many organisations or executives investing that kind

into two distinct categories: the normal majority and abnormal sub-groups. Instead, the Neurodiversity movement premises, "… deviations from the standard neurotypical brain that result in differing behavioural patterns are natural variations, not disorders or illnesses… If neurological differences are not disorders or illnesses, but merely variations, neurodiverse people are to be treated equally

of time today. Recruitment of KWys and KNots, therefore, remains the most practical and quick way to gain dividends from Edudiversity. I can testify it works – but only if leaders have the vision and patience to try non-conventional sourcing streams.


We turn now to the most neglected of diversities with perhaps the greatest potential for transforming corporate capabilities and competitiveness. As studies of the brain have progressed in recent decades, it has become clear that people are not divided

to neurotypical individuals."7 There is no gainsaying the fact that along the spectrum of differing behaviour, some fall clearly outside of the minima our society and working cultures demand. That still leaves a substantial number of persons who could be aided to reach minimal work conventions if we could overcome our biases against them. Our reason for the additional effort to prepare such niches and overcome the resistance of the general body of employees, need not solely be benevolence. Once we stop excluding people who behave oddly or are typed with a mental illness label, we

The road less travelled

Educational Diversity (Edudiversity) and Neurological Diversity (Neurodiversity) have a direct and immense business benefit that few organisations have yet exploited

open ourselves to untapped sources of talent that have fuelled some of the greatest geniuses and entrepreneurs the world has seen. The brilliance is not available without the apparent handicap. "Defects, disorders, diseases, in this sense, can play a paradoxical role, by bringing out latent powers, developments, evolutions, forms of life, that might never be seen, or even be imaginable, in their absence."8 Only when large corporates stop being 'ableist' in their searches will they be able to recruit the neuro-mavericks, some of whom will end up creating new products and business models that are today available to large corporates only after costly acquisition wars. Even where these special-brain individuals do not scale such heights (which is obviously rare) they frequently excel in tasks that neurotypicals struggle with and are free of several foibles to which the latter are prone.9 Thomas Armstrong has written a wonderful book on Neurodiversity that explains the evolutionary benefits these so-called disorders gave to humans.10 He makes an excellent case for mining each of these veins of talent: • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder • Autism • Dyslexia • Mood Disorders • Anxiety and ObsessiveDECEMBER 2021 |


The road less travelled

Compulsive Disorders • Atypical Intelligences (a disorder only to the extent performance on typical intelligence tests is subpar) • Schizotypal Personality Disorder


When these diagnostic labels cause us to veer away from recruiting people to whom they are applied (even if they are above the requisite minimum of daily routine competence), we lose a pool of talent that, with suitable support, can do better than neurotypicals at many jobs. The tech industry, with its chronic attrition problems, should be eager to beat a path to the doors of high-functioning autists. 11 & 12 Ioan James quotes Hans Asperger saying: "To our own amazement, we have seen that autistic individuals, as long as they are intellectually intact, can almost always achieve professional success… often in very high positions, with a preference for abstract content."13 Neurodiverse people have often delivered superior performance in the following roles (that are not always easy to fill): • Inventor, researcher or industrial designer • Entrepreneur • Computer software designer or programmer • Accountant • Life coach or marriage, child, and family counsellor | DECEMBER 2021

• Writer, musician or painter Moreover, some of these brain states can equip the Neurodiverse to cope with crises and pressures under which neurotypicals wilt. For instance, they can manage isolated remote working (such as was forced by the Covid crisis) far better and their retention rates are almost invariably higher than those of ’typicals’. Initial pilots have been extremely encouraging. Among the most advanced, in Europe we have the inspiring tale of Thorkil Sonne and of Specialisterne, the remarkable company he founded.14 A far more familiar name is Google, which "sees the neurodiverse community as a veritable treasure trove of talent

largely untapped… Google believes autistic people can be successful doing anything in the organisation.”15 So it is not as if organisations in India that diverge from the path of recruiting neurotypicals will be global pioneers but they will certainly benefit from initial mover advantage within India for years to come.

Group gains

The benefits we have alluded to so far mainly relate to the contributions Edudiverse and Neurodiverse people can bring to individual roles. Perhaps their greatest contribution, however, could lie in transforming group functioning once they have leavened the talent mix. They do so by catalyzing creativity, dismantling the knee-jerk resistance to outside ideas and developing

Google "sees the neurodiverse community as a veritable treasure trove of talent largely untapped… Google believes autistic people can be successful doing anything in the organisation”


6. Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein, Noise: A flaw in Human Judgement, William Collins, 2021. 7. Timo Lorenz, Nomi Reznik and Kathrin Heinitz, A Different Point of View: The Neurodiversity Approach to Autism and Work, from Michael Fitzgerald and Jane Yip’s (Editors), Autism - Paradigms, Recent Research and Clinical Applications, InTechOpen, 8. Oliver Sacks, An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales, Vintage, 1996. 9. Michael Booth, Better, faster... and no office politics: the company with the autistic specialists, The Independent, 23 October 2011. 10. Thomas Armstrong, The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain, Da Capo Lifelong Books; 2011. 11. J Slegers, Why the Tech Industry Needs

1. Visty Banaji, There is an Elephant in the Room- And the Blind Men of Indostan Can’t See it, 26 September 2018, (https:// 2. Isidore of Seville (Translated by Stephen Barney, W J Lewis, J A Beach and Oliver Berghof), The Etymologies, Cambridge University Press, 2006. 3. Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein, Noise: A flaw in Human Judgement, William Collins, 2021. 4. Rajen Mehrotra, Gaining Entry into a Management Institute, Current Labour Reports, September 2021. 5. Diego Gambetta & Steffen Hertog, Engineers of Jihad: The Curious Connection between Violent Extremism and Education, Princeton University Press, 2016.

Diversity of the recognisably different groups that this column has espoused gets people used to accepting and benefitting from the ideas of others unlike themselves. These are not the last kinds of diversities the top management and HR will be expected to steward over the years. The time has long gone when HR can stand complacently near the shards of the glass ceiling shattered by women and remain under the illusion that its mission on diversity is accomplished. Subsequent ceilings will be constructed of progressively tougher glass and Edudiversity as well as Neurodiversity with provide excellent practice for shattering the

transparent armour of which they are made. I know bringing in people who were considered abnormal and weeded out till now may go against the grain of several CHROs. There can be no better encouragement for them than to be reminded of their success in dealing with the psychopaths at the helm (Think I am joking? Check out the statistics and checklist from a recent Forbes article17). An organisation that has braved those hazards should find the gentler differences of the Neurodiverse a refreshing tonic indeed.

The road less travelled

the diversity delivery capabilities of the leadership and HR. One of the surest paths to organisational innovation is through the formation of multi-functional task teams focused on solving seemingly intractable problems. Part of the benefit comes from the very different perspectives people from different orientations bring to bear. I have seen the effect replicated within HR when MBAs and behavioural scientists rub shoulders on a daily basis. The phenomenon was described long ago by Arthur Koestler but is even more important in the hyper-specialized and narrowly normalized world of today.16 More than one international expansion, collaboration, merger or acquisition has been sunk on the rocks of incompatibility. The stronger the culture the greater the probability of a debilitating autoimmune response, against the 'outsider', kicking in.

Visty Banaji is the Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC) More Autism, Hackernoon, 30 October 2015. 12. Robert D Austin and Gary P Pisano, Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage, Harvard Business Review, May-June 2017. 13. Ioan James, Singular scientists, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, January 2003. 96(1): 36–39. 14. Jonathan Wareham and Thorkil Sonne, Harnessing the Power of Autism Spectrum Disorder (Innovations Case Narrative: Specialisterne). Innovations, MIT Press, 2008. 15. Steven Aquino, Google Cloud Exec Rob Enslin Talks Neurodiversity In The Workforce And How The Autism Career Program Seeks Top Talent, 26 July 2021. 16. Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation, Hutchinson & Co, 1964. 17. Jack McCullough, The Psychopathic CEO, Forbes, 9 December 2019.



Past Month's events

Knowledge + Networking

Total Rewards & Wellness Conclave 2021 People Matters 25th November 2021 Online The phenomenon of employees contemplating quitting, just when economies around the world are poised to rebound strongly following the pandemic, should worry businesses. A standard response to people quitting their jobs has been an increase in monetary compensation. Yet, predictably, that has not stemmed the tide of resignations, underscoring the Great Disconnect between employers and employees. We hosted a day-long conference that

Diversity and Inclusion: Overcoming Unconscious Bias (Spanish) People Matters BeNext 15th November - 17th December 2021 Online This programme was for leaders invested in creating lasting mindset shifts and creating the foundations of a psychologically safe organisation through the implementation of impactful D&I initiatives. We will overcome unconscious bias at all levels to create a work context where everyone is valued, respected and included.

Women in Leadership: Lead, Influence & Transform


DECEMBER 2021 | december

People Matters BeNext 18th October - 19th November 2021 Online This programme was held for employers looking to reshape EX for their teams in the new remote environment of the working world. We explored key considerations for designing an impactful, outstanding employee experience that aligns with our new hybrid reality.

Design Thinking & Agile for HR Teams

brainstormed on the Great Connection, a new rewards template for the new normal that aligns business and employee expectations.

People Matters BeNext 4th October - 5th November 2021 Online This programme was designed for women leaders interested in accelerating their career growth within

Designing Employee Experience in a Hybrid World

their organisation and learning critical skills for heading a team. The programme also helped overcome obstacles arising from workplace gender imbalance to help them speed up the realisation of their potential as a woman leader.

People Matters BeNext 22nd November - 24th December 2021 Online This programme is for HR leaders committed to finding creative solutions to complex problems facing their teams, moving from a foundational understanding of Design Thinking and Agile methodologies to a whole new mindset of creativity, innovation and people-centred progress. We will uncover creative practices and seek solutions for complex HR problems through the prism of Design Thinking & Agile methodologies.

Upcoming events Women in Leadership: Lead, Influence & Transform

Well-being: the Road to Resilience People Matters

BeNext 21st February - 25th March 2021 Online This programme is for all HR professionals, organisational leaders, and individuals who recognise the importance of actively investing in themselves and in a workplace where mental health, focus, resilience, stress-management and psychological safety are highly valued, and who want to explore and create opportunities to safeguard the well-being of their employees through the implementation of impactful initiatives.

(Spanish programme available

People Matters BeNext 24th January - 25th February 2021 Online The future of HR lies in analytics. Gain solid knowledge and hands-on practical experience of analytical tools to help in making people decisions. This programme is for HR leaders eager to gain practical, hands-on approaches to talent analytics, connecting HR policies and practices to business performance. Prior knowledge of HR management, statistics and basic managerial accounting is preferred, but not indispensable.

HR Business Partner in the New World of Work (Spanish programme available

People Matters BeNext 07th February - 11th March 2021 Online Learn how the HRBP can create greater impact and value with a peoplebased approach to leading the transition to the new world of work. This programme is for leaders and practitioners interested in how the HRBP drives cultural shifts that align with the changing needs of teams and organisations in the new world of work.

Designing Employee Experience in the New World of Work

Knowledge + Networking

People Matters BeNext 06th December - 14th January 2021 Online Overcome obstacles facing workplace gender imbalance and speed up the realisation of your potential as a woman leader. This programme is designed for women leaders interested in accelerating their career growth within their organisation and learning critical skills for women heading a team.

Talent Analytics: Driving Organisational Impact

People Matters BeNext 07th March - 08th April 2021 Online This programme is for HR leaders and employers looking to reshape employee experience for their teams in the new hybrid working environment. Explore key considerations for designing an impactful, outstanding employee experience that aligns with our new hybrid reality.

DECEMBER 2021 | december



>> Michael Engle

Digital onboarding b lo g o s p he r e

New standards for document and biometric onboarding allow organisations to prove who someone is remotely by leveraging their smartphone’s camera and other security features



he onboarding of new hires is one of the last processes to go digital in most enterprises. The same, tired process of scanning and faxing or emailing proof of citizenship (i.e. driver’s license, or national identity documents) is still the norm. This introduces many security concerns for both parties: • The quality of the documents may be poor due to lighting or other factors. • The image file size may change depending on how it is captured due to compression or low-quality black and white scanners.


• The documents are now exposed via the candidate’s email, in the HR rep’s email, or sitting on a server. This puts personal identification information at risk at every step of the journey. • Even after documents are sent, you don’t have a good way to verify the person sending them is truly who you are interacting with. A typical hiring process goes from talent acquisition (interviewing, background check, etc.) to an offer letter. Once a candidate accepts, it is now time to “get them in” to the system. This is day one of an employee’s journey - let’s discuss how this process can be digitally transformed. New standards for document and biometric onboarding allow organisations to prove who someone is remotely by leveraging their smartphone’s camera and other security features. The NIST standard called 800-63-3A clearly outlines a path to do this via

Biometric ID proofing and digital authentication make it much easier for companies to verify their employees’ identities without a significant investment in sophisticated systems rigorous standard, that everyone signing onto their systems is who they say they are. Technology has made this process possible by leveraging the smartphone or computer of the new hire. Specifically, biometric ID proofing and digital authentication make this process much easier for companies to verify their employees’ identities without a significant investment in sophisticated systems. They simply scan the documents, take a selfie, and the system does the rest, including guiding the user through the capturing of quality images. The results? A standardsbased identity that an organisation can trust for onboarding and re-authentication. It’s important to distinguish that this form of biometric enrollment is not the same as TouchID, DECEMBER 2021 |

b lo g o sp he r e

a user-directed and streamlined process. Document-centric identity verification is a growing trend in enterprise cybersecurity. A recent study by Gartner found that by 2022, 80% of companies will be using this method of verification in their organisations, and over 60% of mid-size to global enterprises will implement passwordless authentication methods in the same timeframe. However, deploying this technology effectively requires integration of document-centric verification and passwordless authentication, and careful attention to industry standards that will provide organisations maximum protection. In 2017, the US federal government introduced the NIST 80063-3a identity proofing standard which is of critical importance for organisational security measures to comply. In short, NIST 800-63-3a gives guidance on how to capture two forms of identity documentation, validate them, and compare them to the images on the documents with the person’s face. For organisations hiring employees, this means they have verifiable proof, backed by a


b lo g o s p he r e 86

As hybrid work is likely here to stay and companies assess their hiring and security practices, there has never been a better time to invest in new systems that ensure maximum protection for their most important assets FaceID, and other device-based biometrics. Those forms of biometric are not linked to a real identity. The biometric must be a representation of one user and instantly matched to the government documents. As they embrace an identity proofing solution, companies can issue a digital credential that allows them to access their internal systems, such as an active directory certificate. This is protected the same way the identity documents are. The usage of cryptographic keys is a growing trend in the industry and is backed by another standards body, the FIDO Alliance. The acronym “FIDO” stands for “Fast Identity Online”. FIDO eliminates usernames and passwords. They set the bar on how a company can implement various authentication technologies. However, | DECEMBER 2021

FIDO alone is not strong enough to entirely protect organisations, because it does not have proof of identity as part of the standard (ie. verifying against governmentissued documents). When FIDO is combined with strong identity proofing, like NIST 800-63-3, the process provides indisputable proof that employees, contractors, or partners are who they say they are. Why? When they transmit their credentials, they have the same digital signatures that were enrolled with their identity that cannot be used or replicated by a third party. This experience is truly a gamechanger for organisations and remote workers. When a user needs to access a resource, they provide their biometric (selfie) and they can access the company’s network. There are several ways for a user to connect to a remote resource including the scanning of a QR code or triggering of a push message to their smartphone. Because of this, the organisation now knows with a high degree of certainty that the person sitting at the keyboard is who they say they are - every time they authenticate. The time is now for organisations to embrace these identity standards - for their sake, and for their users. As hybrid work is likely here to stay and companies assess their hiring and security practices, there has never been a better time to invest in new systems that ensure maximum protection for their most important assets. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Engle is Chief Security Officer at 1Kosmos.

RNI Details: Vol. XII, Issue No. 12, R.N.I. No. HARENG/2010/33504. Published and Owned by People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Published at 501, 5th Floor, Millennium Plaza, Tower A, Sushant Lok-1, Sector-27, Gurgaon - 122009, Haryana. Editor: Esther Martinez Hernandez

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