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VOL XI / ISSUE 8 / AUGUST 2020

INTERVIEW Martin D. Shanahan CEO, IDA Ireland

BIG INTERVIEW Ashley Goodall Svp, Methods & Intelligence Cisco


The courage to lead. The power of and.

Now more than ever we can’t predict what the future will hold. But you can be ready to adapt. Unleash your edge with leadership skills for the digital economy. Get exclusive content at skillsoft.com/MITSMR


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

Time to revisit ‘performance’ and ‘rewards’

T

he COVID-19 pandemic has warranted businesses of all sizes across industries to swiftly embrace a predominantly virtual workforce. And this has led to fewer day-to-day touchpoints between managers and their employees giving rise to a need to develop new processes for managing the performance of the remote workers. To retain and engage talent, organizations are now offering flexible work arrangements and acknowledging the great work their employees are doing majorly from home. This pandemic has made flexibility and empathy two important factors for leaders to factor in their day-to-day decision making. In fact, how leaders take care of their employees amid this crisis will have a long-term bearing on their

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sustainability − and their ability to attract new talent and engage them for optimum productivity. This is also the time when connectivity and clarity took centerstage for employers and employees. It has become vital to stay connected, be empathetic, and understand each other, more than ever. While determining where their people need the most support, organizations are revising KRAs and goals to trigger right behaviors for remote workers and developing new processes that can help achieve desired business results. After all, the productivity of employees working from home and employees working from the office may vary across different industries. While some organizations have different metrics for different sets of people, one thing is certain. Performance management has to be revisited in this volatile business environment given that business priorities, for many, are shifting. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach; each organization needs to figure out how to best engage, assess, and reward their talent base keeping in mind employees’ needs and business requirements. What all this boils down to is that businesses today need to be flexible and adaptive enough in order to thrive as organizations. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, several organizations were already moving past the outmoded performance management processes looking for newer ways to retain and engage top talent. Some have removed the rating

systems and are now focusing on self-authored objectives in line with organizational goals. The so-called job evaluation models place far too high value on revenue and profit generation and too little value on the wider contributions in terms of sustainability of organizations. Today, it’s changing. New-age businesses increasingly recognize and reward peoples’ accomplishments based on their commitment to innovation and upskilling – two criteria that will be even more essential for a time like this. Organizations must remain committed that assessments must be based on fair performance expectations taking into account the challenges facing the employees. Both managers and employees should connect frequently and have transparent conversations that should factor in individual circumstances. Companies should recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on a lot of employees that might be hindering them from giving their best. Leaders need to think holistically and continue to reward their people who are working amid all uncertainties to fulfill business priorities. Many companies are communicating to their employees that they are valued and important to the business while making rapid adjustments to the rewards process. Some organizations may be considering substantial adjustments to performance ratings to trigger bonus payouts or other pay changes. For roles like sales and manufacturing, which have defined goals and targets, some companies are currently reviewing


to enable employees in maintaining the connect, keeping up with the D&I momentum, and Pride Month 2020. The current COVID-19 crisis calls for rewriting the HR tech and Worktech playbook. How do we do that? People Matters TechHR 2020, that brings together the most progressive business & HR Leaders, HR Analysts, and HR Technology experts & Worktech startups from around the globe, shines the light on the great reset. This year's theme is AdaptableHR: The Great Reset. Come, join the People Matters TechHR 2020 week from 10th-14th August to focus on finding answers for both the now and the next. As part of TechHR India 2020, we will have People Matters Certification Masterclasses on AdaptableHR for Prime Plus registered delegates — an opportunity to learn from the best in the HR and Work Tech space. You will also have the opportunity to join Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Scholar, Trader and Risk Expert, who will guide on how to rewrite the HR and WorkTech playbook — and rethink and restructure our organizations to be more robust in the face of uncertainty. As always, we would be happy to hear your views, comments, and suggestions regarding our stories.

Happy Reading! Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor-in-Chief

THE COVER STORY (BEHIND THE SCENE)

No! I’m on a diet.

Aah, nice! We should try this in real.

I want a different couloured mask!

No...

No...I want something without colour.

VOL XI / ISSUE 8 / AUGUST 2020

adjustments to account for increased or decreased demand due to COVID-19. In situations like this, employees are willing to contribute to the organization’s larger goals and ready to stay up-to-date with future skills. Hence, businesses must provide growth opportunities for their workers. Ensuring a safe and healthy work environment, benefits like insurance coverage for employee and family, timely rewards, and giving time off work are some of the initiatives companies should consider. So as lockdown and the pandemic slowly ease, there are several questions businesses need to find answers to. The cover story of this issue delves deep into the new performance and rewards metrics that organizations should consider, to help business and talent leaders take the right decisions as they move toward the new normal. For the Big Interview in this issue, we have Ashley Goodall - SVP, Methods & Intelligence - Cisco, who shares his views on what has changed in work, workplace, and workforce over the years and how in times like this, effective leadership is critical. We also have an interview with Professor Venkat Venkatraman, the David J. McGrath jr. Professor of Management at Boston University, who talks about the larger picture of the new workplace amid the pandemic and the way forward for organizations. Also featured is an interview with Martin D. Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland, who talks about the need for technology

INTERVIEW Martin D. Shanahan CEO, IDA Ireland

BIG INTERVIEW Ashley Goodall Svp, Methods & Intelligence Cisco

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contents

AUGUST 2020 volu m e xi issue 8

cover story

68

By Mastufa Ahmed

70

Donna Morris, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer for Walmart

By Mastufa Ahmed

74

C O N TE N TS

‘Companies that succeed amid COVID-19 will be those that prioritize people’

‘Redefining performance management strategy is key in the remote working world’

Puneet Swani, Career Business Leader, International

Region, Mercer

By Mastufa Ahmed

‘We focus on self-authored objectives aligned with organizational goals’

Steven Baert, Chief People & Organization Officer of Novartis By Mastufa Ahmed

97

COVID triggered evolution of benefits and rewards

Lynette D’Silva, Head of Regional HR - India & APAC at

Amdocs

80

‘Employee assessments must be based on reasonable performance expectations’

By Bhavna Sarin

Singapore

100

‘Talent pool is now a global one’

By Mastufa Ahmed

Ian Tyler, Chief Strategy Officer of Talent International By Mint Kang

‘We reward our people based on business results, their commitment to innovation’

103

Rethinking rewards during COVID-19

108

Performance and rewards in the new normal

Brandon Coate, Head of Human Resources for HSBC

84

Andrew Campbell, Senior Partner, Asia Pacific, IBM Talent &

Transformation

By Mastufa Ahmed

89

‘We must act and do what is right’

Cristina (Cris) A. Wilbur, Chief People Officer,

By Anushree Sharma

By Clinton Wingrove, Director of www.WantToBeGreatManager.com and www.ClintonHR.com

F. Hoffmann-La Roche By Mastufa Ahmed

Editor-in-Chief

Features Writers

Senior Editor

Assistant Managers, Content

Esther Martinez Hernandez Yasmin Taj

Associate Editor, Print & Online

Mastufa Ahmed

Marta Martinez

Anushree Sharma Bhavna Sarin

Drishti Pant | Neelanjana Mazumdar Design & Production

Shinto Kallattu

Manager, Content

Digital Head

Jerry Moses

Prakash Shahi

Associate Editor

General Manager, Sales

Abid Hasan

Senior Features Writer

Shweta Modgil

Mint Kang

Senior Associates, Content

Manager, design, photography, and production

8

92

Rubi Taj rubi.taj@peoplematters.in +91 (124) 4148102

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Manager, Sales

Saloni Gulati saloni.gulati@peoplematters.in +91 (124) 4148102 Manager, SUBSCRIPTION

Neha Yadav subscribe@peoplematters.in +91 (124) 4148101 Printed and Published by

Mahesh Kumar on behalf of People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Owned by

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Printed at Polykam Offset C-138, Phase - I, Naraina Industrial Area, New Delhi - 110028 Tel: 011-45566341-42 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 responsibility for consequences arising from errors

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This issue of People matters contains 148 pages including cover


40

the big Interview

At Cisco, People Come First Ashley Goodall, SVP,

Methods & Intelligence, CISCO By Mastufa Ahmed

‘COVID-19 was unprecedented, so will be the future of work’ Prof. Venkat Venkatraman, David J.

McGrath jr. Professor of Management at Boston University By Mastufa Ahmed

18 Ne w s F eatu r e

56

interview

122 T h e r oa d less t r avelle d

Redeploying talent postCOVID-19

By Drishti Pant

Draining the (training) swamp

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

23 Productivity & Performance

Measuring productivity post-COVID-19

128 I N T E R V I E W

By Shweta Modgil

26 Ne w s F eatu r e

60 T h e Ne w No r m al

The phenomenon of WFH and beyond

33 G e n d e r E qualit y

By Shekar Y, Head of Centre for Digital Enterprise at IIM Udaipur which offers a 1-year MBA in Digital Enterprise Management.

By Bhavna Sarin

64 I N T E R V I E W

By Bhavna Sarin

Women, please say NO

36 F i n a n cial Well - bei n g

Brightside’s funding and wider benefits trend

By People Matters Editorial 46 Digital T r a n sfo r m atio n

Nothing ventured, nothing learned

By Melanie Cook, Managing Director of Hyper Island, APAC 48 I N T E R V I E W

Inclusion is inviting participation, not just attendance

‘Embrace the new normal or be left in the dust’

Michael Simpson, CEO and Founder of PAIRIN By Mastufa Ahmed 113 I N T E R V I E W

‘We have digitized our services, rethought the entire supply chain amid this pandemic’

Vinod Dasari, CEO of Royal Enfield By Abid Hasan

116 Post - C O V I D - 1 9 Wo r k p lace

WFH 101: What happens when IT is in lockdown?

Martin D. Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland By Bhavna Sarin

By Leon Adato, Head Geek, SolarWinds – an American IT company

52 T h e Ne w Wo r k p lace

By Moin Qazi, An author, researcher and development professional who has spent four decades in the development sector

Anup Kumar, HR Head—Wabtec India Technology & Engineering Centre (WITEC), Wabtec Corporation By Jerry Moses

119 I N T E R V I E W

Building resilience in COVID-19 times

‘A consistent feedback rhythm is needed to continue or pivot work’

Jignasha Amin Grooms, Chief Human Resources Officer, Epicor By Yasmin Taj 134 L ea d e r s h i p

Aligning SBUs with corporate strategy

By Dr. M. Muneer, Managing Director of CustomerLab Solutions and Co-Founder of the non-profit Medici Institute 139 T h e Ne w Wo r k p lace

Dive into the new normal

C O N TE N TS

Pride Month Celebrations: The pride must go on

The big reset calls for resiliency and adaptability

By Shaakun Khanna, Head - HCM Applications, APAC at Oracle

regulars

04 From the Editor’s Desk 08 Letters of the month 10 Quick Reads 15 Rapid Fire 140 Knowledge + Networking 142 Blogosphere Featured In this issue Andrew Campbell Anjali Menon Anup Kumar Ashley Goodall Brandon Coate Cristina (Cris) A. Wilbur Donna Morris Ian Tyler

Jignasha Amin Grooms Lynette D’Silva Martin D. Shanahan Michael Simpson Puneet Swani Steven Baert Venkat Venkatraman Vinod Dasari

CONTRIBUTORS to this issue Bianca D'Costa Clinton Wingrove Leon Adato Melanie Cook Moin Qazi

Dr. M. Muneer Shaakun Khanna Shekar Y Visty Banaji

AUGUST 2020 |

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Letters of the month

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

Digitization, automation, and security are the key components of the new normal The involvement of CIOs and CTOs in the day-to-day running of business operations has grown multifold. For businesses it indeed must be a challenge to not just ensure employee safety but also be quick to provide for customer requirements. Especially in a sector like banking, where the shift for a majority of customers who would have chosen to visit a bank branch, to get them to trust online banking, the technology would have to be even more customer-friendly and seamless. Ensuring a similar commitment to providing employees with such seamless experience remains to be seen though, as we see several recent studies highlighting the lack of adequate tech infrastructure. - Vishmita Subhash

Microsoft India’s Ira Gupta on the “big reset� at work

This interview resonated a lot with me as a leader, especially the categorization of ensuring employees are heard, leadership is visible and best practices are shared. Very well said. Another point that stood out for me was "the more we seek to understand and address the need of colleagues the more we help create an ecosystem of support". There are no guidelines to guide leaders through these uncertain times and what appears to be an uncertain future. It, therefore, becomes all the more critical to stay connected with your colleagues, employees, and with the world at large to observe, assess and implement policies, practices, and procedures that will help create an environment of empathy, compassion, strength, and collaboration. There is no denying that technology is the one touchpoint that holds the world together at this point in time. Digitization is no longer about jumping on the bandwagon, rather about being responsive, adaptable, and vigilant to help carry the organization through what appears to be the biggest reset the current multigenerational workforce has ever experienced. - Priya Singhal

JUly 2020 issue

Organizations are doubling down on tech to thrive in the new normal Six months into the pandemic it is time to move on to or at least begin to consider beyond recovery and immediate sustenance. It is time to identify long term needs and act upon building complementary ecosystems to build capabilities of the future, as rightly said by Brownridge. There is a need for tech infrastructure to balance experimentation, automation, and augmentation. An interesting point on investment in technology though, despite predicted reductions in IT spend globally, the unpredictable shelf life of the pandemic has left little room for carrying on with work and life without adequate technical support. Until recent times, technology existed in certain pockets across the organization, for the purpose of automation. What we now need is intelligent technology to be able to scale daily workflow and widen the scope for business processes and people processes by providing an enabling and empowering platform and infrastructure. - Anushka Kant

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Interact with People Matters

The pandemic is fast-tracking the digital agenda

Blockchain is going to be bigger and the most in-demand skill

Given the estimated 15X growth within a span of five years, blockchain sure has a huge market. And while it is looked at as the next big thing, it sure will be accompanied by a huge amount of investment. The widespread cost-cutting measures across the globe though might cause these numbers to experience a steep decline if the economy fails to reboot and recover in the immediate future. Blockchain has sure made its mark in the financial industry and is gradually testing the waters across healthcare, entertainment, and shipping sectors. With the need to accelerate digitization in HR, blockchain in the HR Tech domain through advanced payroll management isn't far away. - Sharad Agrawal

- vania sharma

In the post-COVID-19 world, it is vital that companies keep their eye on inclusivity

I aI absolutely loved the candid replies in this interview. A very delicate yet pragmatic approach to addressing a much need-to-be spoken about agenda. Conversations indeed help remove the layers around the topic of LGBTQ+ inclusion, and what better time that the muchawaited Pride Month. Companies indeed need to go beyond gestures and translate such expressed advocacy into actionable employee policies, extended to their partners as well. - Sakshi Adhikari

A crisis can be a huge motivator to change your life

Really inspiring to read about Dmitri's journey & perseverance. He is truly an example of a rational leader who focuses on balancing the safety and security of his people as well as ensuring that the business stays on track. I admire his willingness to not stay rigid as a leader, and be open to exploring ideas and alternatives to ride through tough times. His ability to innovate during times of crisis demonstrates the determination, will-power and focus expected of a leader that, which is key to be able to guide the organization through challenging times. - JANVI MAHESH

Kunjal Kamdar @kunjal23 "Learning never exhausts the mind" Fortunate to have participated in @PeopleMatters2 #EmployeeExperience Certification Program. Big thanks to @Ester_Matters and the entire team at PeopleMatters for creating this amazing learning platform. KPMG India @KPMGIndia Interview | For many organisations, the future is suddenly now, with their digital enablement plans having been massively accelerated and scaled overnight: @sushantr, @KPMGIndia in conversation with @PeopleMatters2 ow.ly/K6v050AB7hK Ruma Balasubramanian @RumaBala Thank you @PeopleMatters2 and @Mastufa for the opportunity to talk about how #DigitalTransformation initiatives have accelerated over the past few months. The IT agenda is becoming more important than ever @ciscoapac Bajaj Allianz Life @BajajAllianzLIC In an exclusive interview with @PeopleMatters2, Santanu Banerjee, our new CHRO discusses his key focus areas in tackling problems arising from the #COVID situation & how we are leveraging #technology to keep our #employees connected. Sarang Brahme @Sarangbrahme Glad to complete @PeopleMatters2 Employee Experience Certification program. Great learning content across the entire talent journey and amazing platform experience. #alwayslearning #employeeexperience #PMEXConf @Ester_Matters

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

The pandemic has not only triggered digital acceleration but has also triggered an acceleration in a pending cultural shift, rather a mindset shift. While remote working remote existed as a flexible work policy for multiple organizations, it is interesting to see that it remained an unexplored working arrangement for some even in the current times. A major reason behind such rigid working structures could be the required operational presence of individuals. In the current scenario, this very necessity has also been challenged through digital alternatives and COVID19 has forced organizations to push themselves and tap into possibilities that once were beyond imagination.

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

Mike Sweet @_Mike_Sweet Good article in @PeopleMatters2 about L&D Readiness, and the important role it plays in fostering agility in the workforce follow

M > @PeopleMatters2

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AUGUST 2020 |

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Report

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Google remains the most ideal employer for students: Report

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Universum launches the findings from the India portion of its annual global talent survey. This year, over 28,000 students from India’s leading universi-

ties participated and completed more than 1,15,000 assessments of India’s top graduate employers. Set out to track the career aspirations and preferences of India’s future talent pool, the Top 100 Ideal Employers student survey also recognizes the most coveted employees based solely on the responses collected. Firm favorite Google retains the top spot as the most ideal employer among India’s future workforce. This was the case for students studying in all of the main fields: business and commerce, engineering and IT, natural sciences, humanities and liberal arts, and education and law students.

Layoffs

Emirates airline plans to chop up to 9,000 jobs

The Middle East's largest carrier, Emirates airline has cut a tenth of its workforce during the novel coronavirus pandemic in layoffs that could rise to 15 percent, or 9,000 jobs. The carrier operates a fleet of 270 wide-bodied aircraft, halted operations in late March as part of global shutdowns to stem the spread of the virus. It resumed two weeks later on a limited network and plans to fly to 58 cities by mid-August, down from about 157 before the crisis.

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Equality

Japan Tobacco launches equal family leave policy

Japan Tobacco International (JTI), the international division of cigarette manufacturing giant Japan Tobacco, announced this week that it has launched a global equal family leave policy for all of its 45,000 employees. The new leave plan, which becomes effective on January 1, 2021, offers a minimum of 20 weeks fully paid family leave for all employees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or whether employees become parents by giving birth or through adoption or surrogacy.

Hiring

E-Commerce is leading the demand for hiring of blue-collar workers

Even as the economy continues to grapple under the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, India Inc expects to start hiring bluecollar and entry-level workers with a spur in demand in hiring expected in Q3 2020, ahead of the festive season. These findings were released today by OLX People, India's leading tech-powered HR Platform as part of its first annual “Employer Sentiment Survey” conducted in June 2020. The survey states that 85 percent of employers say there may be an increase in the recruitment of bluecollar and entry-level staff ahead of the festive season this year. Of these, 40 percent were confident of witnessing a significant hiring surge in this segment in their organizations. Around 12 percent of the organizations anticipated continuing the hiring freeze. The survey confirms that the revival in hiring will be led by e-commerce and ITeS with logistics and companies in food tech following close behind.


Talent Management

Jobs

ICICI Bank to reward 80k employees with up to 8% pay hike

Zilingo cuts Singapore and global headcount

Fashion commerce and tech startup Zilingo has laid off another 11 employees in Singapore and trimmed its global workforce by 12 percent. Zilingo announced its first round of layoffs in April, which affected five percent of its global workforce, including about 30 people in Singapore, triggered by the global coronavirus pandemic. Over the last few weeks, as the pandemic continued to wreak

Singapore-based Qualee Technology, which offers customizable employee on-boarding and engagement solutions for companies, has raised US$1 MN in

Funding

Teal raises $5 million in funding, looks to help people land a job Teal, a platform that looks to help people land jobs that they love, has closed a $5 million seed round. The funding was led by Flybridge Capital, with participation from Lerer

per a media report. The hike of up to 8 percent is for the fiscal year 2020-21 and applicable from July onwards. These employees are from M1 and grades below, who are frontline staff mostly in customerfacing roles. They ensure the functioning of branches and other operations of the bank.

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Qualee raises USD 1MN funding

funding from Tandem Technology Partners. Qualee shares that it will use the capital to enhance its product, recruiting, consulting, marketing, and support. Qualee is an online platform for organizations of all sizes to enhance their engagement and onboarding processes with employees. Using the latest in the cloud and mobile app technology, its proprietary self-service, the digital platform automates procedures and provides clients with the ability to securely create employee experiences that measurably improve employer familiarization and engagement.

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Investment

havoc across the board, we have executed a similar organizational restructure across Thailand, India, Vietnam offices.12% of our total workforce has been affected, said the company in a statement.

The country’s second largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has decided to reward over 80,000 of its frontline employees with a salary hike of up to 8 percent. These employees form over 80 percent of its overall workforce and the decision has been taken in recognition of the services rendered during the COVID-19 pandemic, as

Hippeau, Corigin Ventures, Aleph, Oceans Ventures, High Output, AVG Basecamp and Kairos Angels. Teal launched in November of 2019 with a system that did all of the heavy lifting for people seeking jobs, including resume consultations, searching listings and sending application information to the right people. AUGUST 2020 |

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newsmaker of the month

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The looming mental health crisis

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s the world continues to tackle the global pandemic, there’s been a sharp rise in mental health issues. Prolonged home isolation coupled with a fear of contracting the virus is already creating adverse consequences to the well-being of employees working from home. With a rise in the loss of pay and unemployment and lack of resources to support the scale of the mental health crisis, a number of people are at risk of clinical depression, anxiety, and suicide. In India, the conversations on mental health had renewed attention as a leading actor in Bollywood, Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide. Apart from frontline health care workers faced with heavy workloads, children, adoles-

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cents, working women – who are juggling work and home responsibilities, older persons, and those with existing mental health conditions are high-risk groups that businesses have to pay close attention to. The World Health Organization has highlighted the need to substantially increase investments in mental health to avert a spike in cases. The Indian Psychiatry Society reported that the number of cases increased by over 20 percent. Elsewhere in Asia, the trend is the same – from Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines there’s a steady rise in mental health-related cases. Given the disruptions caused by COVID19, several countries are lifting the lockdown so that their economies and jobs are not adversely affected, despite the

risk to containment efforts. There are a number of steps that need to be taken to address the crisis at hand. NIMHAS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences) in India has called for a dedicated mental health support network, helpline numbers, paid leave especially for those under quarantine or in isolation. Companies also need to support employees who are experiencing distress by connecting them with healthcare practitioners. Given the prolonged nature of battling the global pandemic, more employees are likely to feel fatigued as they feel pressured to be responsive online all the time. HR leaders need to think creatively about emerging problems that are likely to impact their workforce – including online classes for the children of their employees, the arbitrary nature of lockdown announcements, and work-related fatigue. Creating support systems to help employees while also giving opportunities to employees to recharge is critical. Some companies are instituting no-call Mondays, still, others are restricting the time within which employees are required to be on call. There’s a critical role for the HR function to drive an engaged, productive workforce while also being supportive of employee concerns almost realtime.


Netflix appoints new Marketing Head Netflix Inc appointed Bozoma Saint John as the company's new Chief Marketing Officer, starting in August, adding a high-profile Black executive to senior management. Saint John, who has been vocal about inequality in corporate America, joins from entertainment and talent agency Endeavor where she was the head of marketing since 2018. She also previously worked at Apple Inc and Uber Technologies Inc.

Nisaba Godrej overtakes Godrej Consumer Products Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) announced changes to its leadership team, effective July 1, 2020. Nisaba Godrej, currently the Executive Chairperson of

Aviva appoints new CEO Aviva has appointed Amanda Blanc as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect. This came after Maurice Tulloch, who was earlier the CEO has stepped down from the role stating family health reasons. Amanda is currently an Independent Non-Executive Director at Aviva plc. She was appointed to the Aviva Board in January 2020 and chairs the Customer, Conduct, and Reputation Board Committee. She was previously CEO, EMEA & Global Banking Partnerships at Zurich Insurance Group.

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Sunil Rayan named as President of Disney Hotstar India Star and Disney India have named former Google executive, Sunil Rayan, to head its video streaming service, Disney+ Hotstar in India as its President. At Google, Rayan served as Managing Director of Google Cloud for Games, based out of the internet giant’s headquarters at Mountain View, California in the US. He spent the last 7.5 years at Google and also headed its Mobile App ads business till July 2018, before making the move to Google Cloud. Rayan has also had stints at McKinsey & Co., IBM, iGate Mastech, and Infosys.

Sandeep Mahajan joins Goodyear as MD Tyre maker Goodyear has appointed Sandeep Mahajan as the Managing Director of India operations. He has been appointed for a period of five years or up to the date of superannuation or retirement, the company said. Mahajan succeeds Rajeev Anand, who is superannuating from the company after completing more than 38 years of service.

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Talent tech firm Collabera appoints new CEO Collabera, a global technology talent solutions provider, announced the appointment of its new CEO, Karthik Krishnamurthy (KK). In his new role, KK will build upon Collabera's existing position as the leading provider of technology and talent solutions and expand the company's global capabilities and client reach. Previously, KK was SVP and Global Markets Leader at Cognizant, and a member of their Executive Leadership team.

the company, will take on the additional role of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Vivek Gambhir, GCPL's current Managing Director, and CEO and one of the highest-paid FMCG honcho in FY19 resigned stating personal reasons and stepped down as Managing Director and CEO on June 30, 2020.

Sumit Bali steps down as CEO, IIFL Sumit Bali has resigned as the Chief Executive Officer of IIFL Finance to pursue other career opportunities, and Nirmal Jain, Executive Chairman, will take over the responsibilities of the CEO. Before joining IIFL, he was working with Kotak Mahindra Bank as Senior Executive Vice President. Prior to this, he served as the CEO of Kotak Mahindra Prime from October 2005 to April 2014. AUGUST 2020 |

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Mindtree appoints new Chief Financial Officer Global technology consulting and services company, Mindtree appoints Vinit Teredesai as the Chief Financial Officer of the company, effective Monday, June 15, 2020. He will be responsible for providing financial leadership to Mindtree in its global growth journey and be based in Bangalore, India. Teredesai is a Chartered Accountant, Cost, and Works Accountant and a Certified Public Accountant. He has also completed a General Management Program from MIT – Sloan School of Business focusing on strategy, innovation, and technology. Michael D'Ambrose joins Boeing as Executive Vice President, HR Boeing appointed Michael D'Ambrose as Executive Vice President of Human Resources. He succeeded Wendy Livingston, who served in an interim capacity since April. In this role, D'Ambrose is responsible for the company's leadership and learning, talent planning, employee and labor relations, total rewards, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Capgemini appoints Anne Lebel as Group CHRO Capgemini announced the appointment of Anne Lebel as Chief Human Resources Officer, effective July 20. She takes over from Hubert Giraud, who has moved to engineering and industrial consulting firm Altran subsequent to its acquisition by Capgemini earlier this year. Anne has over two decades of experience in leadership development and talent management on a global scale, much of it in the financial services industry. Before joining Capgemini, she was CHRO and Corporate Culture Officer for international investment bank Natixis from 2016 to 2020. Avalara appoints Kathleen Weslock as its new CHRO Avalara, a leading provider of cloud-based tax compliance auto16

| AUGUST 2020

mation for businesses of all sizes announced the appointment of human resources veteran Kathleen Weslock as its new Chief Human Resources Officer. Her responsibilities include overseeing the company’s human resources strategy, focusing on people, culture, and continued growth. Lowe's Companies appoints Janice Dupre Little as EVP, HR Lowe's Companies announced the appointment of Janice Dupre Little as Executive Vice President, Human Resources. Little is a seasoned executive with 15 years of human resources and diversity and inclusion experience. Little joined Lowe's in 2017 and most recently served as senior vice president, diversity & talent management. She worked closely with leaders across the enterprise to expand and develop solutions that support Lowe's mission and core behaviors while making diversity and inclusion a signature priority for the company. The Shyft Group appoints new CHRO The Shyft Group which specializes in vehicle manufacturing, assembly, and upfit for the commercial, retail, and service specialty vehicle markets, announced the appointment of Colin Hindman as Chief Human Resources Officer. In this role, Hindman is responsible for developing and executing human resources strategy in support of the overall business direction of the company, which includes talent and change management, anti-discrimination and cultural competence initiatives, and other things. Accor appoints Satish Kumar as Senior Director, Talent & Culture, India & South Asia Accor announces the appointment of Satish Kumar as Senior Director, Talent & Culture, India & South Asia. He succeeded Ashwin Shirali as he departed for his retirement. In the past, Ashwin has immensely contributed to the growth of the organization. During his tenure, he successfully spearheaded many pathbreaking employee and CSR campaigns which have helped the company nurture its talent.


twelve Questions

Rapid-Fire

interview

Anjali Menon

Head of Talent Center of Competence – Asia, Oceania, and Sub-Saharan Africa, Nestlé By Neelanjana Mazumdar

8

1

HR as a business partner or HR as a business driver?

One thing that makes you passionate about HR?

HR as a business driver offers huge opportunity.

Opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individuals and teams.

9

2

What was the turning point of your life as an HR professional?

When we moved out of India with two small kids (younger one less than a year old). It’s been great learning in embracing change, being inclusive and resilient; both personally and professionally.

Employee Experience is the key, tech is an enabler. Try fast, learn fast and improve fast.

3

If you don’t constantly re-invent, somebody else will

Two - AR and VR for remote collaboration/Immersive learning; AI-enabled Intelligent Process Automation (IPA).

3 key people priorities for Nestle, currently?

One tech/innovation that will transform HR?

4

One perception you wish to change about the HR function?

Outdated but still prevalent It’s a support function.

5

What's your learning mantra? Curiosity and intellectual humility.

6

Enabling our People and business to win in the marketplace (Safety is a key focus with COVID-19 context), Enhancing Employee Experience, and Diversity & Inclusion.

7

Appraisals based on rating or rating-less performance management? Rating-less, coaching-based performance management.

10

One question you ask in every interview?

r a p i d - f i r e

Things HR professionals must keep in mind while implementing tech in any HR process?

What was your most proud moment in life and why.

11

In the fast-paced world full of disruptions and challenges, what keeps you going? Challenges, engaging with diverse people and passion to make a difference.

12

What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? The Tokyo Trial on Netflix, history is the best teacher. AUGUST 2020 |

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Redeploying talent post-COVID-19

To survive and thrive amid the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, organizations have to now focus on redeploying and reskilling talent with better data insights, market awareness, and agile organizational culture

News Feature

By Drishti Pant

I

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t is 5 AM on the clock, Anna wakes up to get ready for work, makes some food for herself, and switches on her laptop. She meets and greets her colleagues on chat and starts to prepare for her virtual meeting with a business client. In some other corner of the world, Steven, who worked for a hotel chain, is scrolling through jobs on LinkedIn on one tab, and browsing through courses on the other tab, because he is out of work. | AUGUST 2020

This is the new reality brought on by the pandemic and these two examples are only very small pieces of a bigger picture that is being repainted on the canvas of the business ecosystem. The pandemic has shaken up countries, economies, business models, and work structures. The global health crisis is being looked at as the most uncertain disruptor that has accelerated the transformation journey for many. However, as it caught the leaders off-guard, the readiness to adapt to the

change is less. Slowly and gradually, every nation, employer, and all the stakeholders are together grappling with the challenges and navigating through the new opportunities the COVID-19 crisis has brought with it. Among the many things undergoing disruption is jobs, there are some that have become more important and “essential� than ever, and there are others threatened to become redundant. The International Labour Organization has forecast


roles that have become more relevant amid the pandemic.

Identifying vulnerable and emerging jobs

In Europe and the United States, just two service industries (accommodation and food services plus wholesale and retail) account for around 40 percent of all vulnerable jobs. Among occupations, more than 80 percent of customer service and sales roles are at risk. McKinsey suggests that to deepen the effectiveness of such efforts and to open up new job opportunities, governments and other key institutions can quickly create a more granular picture of where jobs are at risk and where there is additional demand for labor. Each occupation can be assessed according to the level of disease exposure inher-

ent in the role and the degree of demand shock that the occupation has experienced during the crisis. Countries in every region and at every development stage need to ensure that similar analysis is undertaken so that they can identify the most vulnerable groups—and target interventions to safeguard the employment of those groups. This assessment can also consider where the demand for labor has increased. For example, its analysis of the Australian labor market shows that, during the crisis, significant new job opportunities have been created in the grocery, call-center, and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors. In Singapore, also, this week it was reported that more

Jobs vulnerable to layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic in the US by industry Jobs in millions

4 6 8 10

Food & beverage service Clothing & retail

Some jobs have become more important and “essential” than ever, while others are under threat of becoming redundant

News Feature

that the pandemic could reduce global working hours by nearly 7 percent in the second quarter of 2020— equivalent to 195 million full-time jobs. McKinsey’s analysis suggests that, in regions as diverse as Africa, Europe, and the United States, up to a third of the workforce is vulnerable to reduced income, furloughs, or layoffs as a result of the crisis. Many millions of jobs could be lost permanently. It has become absolutely critical that talent leaders now invest their time and effort in identifying the critical roles, mapping the skill requirements, and preparing the workforce for the now and the future of work. Talent leaders would have to work along with the other stakeholders like the employees, the government, and other associations. The process starts with building on the broad views of the sectors, functions, and occupations at risk. On the other hand, also focusing on the

Support & accommodation services Automobile services

Low-wage jobs High-wage jobs

Education Travel & attractions Membership associations & organizations Sports & entertainment Real estate Note: "Low income" jobs are defined as making a weekly income of less than $801.47. Values are rounded. Source: US Private Sector Job Quality Index

AUGUST 2020 |

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Permanent vs gig

For some time now, most talent leaders we interviewed would choose permanent employees over gig workers as they would prioritize aspects such as loyalty, long-term commitment, among other aspects. However, the pandemic is expected to shift the priorities and as managing costs, and achieving more with less becomes essential, the leaders may choose to adapt gig working models. Even work-from-home seemed like a far-fetched dream a few months back, but now most companies today operate remotely. Similarly, the employers will soon come to realize the benefits of the gig working model and have leaner organiza| AUGUST 2020

tional structures. This also comes as good news for the multi-skilled talent who can now have multiple sources of income. After identifying the critical roles required to achieve the business outcomes, employers need to identify which ones can be outsourced on a contractual basis and which ones would require permanent talent in place. Based on their role requirement, business and HR leaders can also identify employees who can wear multiple hats within the company. This model of future of work, workplace, and workforce laid out by Deloitte is the NOW of work. It is the new reality. Organizations can use these key pillars and

re-organize how work is done, where work is done, and by whom the work is done.

It has become absolutely critical that talent leaders now invest their time and effort in identifying the critical roles, mapping the skill requirements, and preparing the workforce for the now and the future of work

The future of work encompasses changes in work, the workforce, and the workplace Current work options

Future work options

Workforce

2 Who can do the Work?

With new talent platforms & contracts, who can do the work? How do we leverage the continuum of talent from full-time, to managed services, to freelancers, gig workers, and crowds? Talent category

Workplace Work

1 What work can be automated

With increasing robotics, cognitive, & AI technologies, what work can be done by–and with–smart machines?

Automation level

3 Where is the work done?

With new combinations of collaborative, teaming, and digital reality technologies, how are workplaces and work practices reshaping where and when work is done?

Physical distance

Source: Deloitte analysis

News Feature 20

jobs will emerge in the infocommunications space over the next three years. The role of sectors like IT/ITeS, FMCG, Pharmaceuticals has become more critical. Further, the demand for digital skills across sectors will be on the rise as operating in the virtual environment now becomes the reality. From education, to banking services, to shopping, all these will be done virtually. Hence, the role of graphic designers, digital marketers, and coders will also become important. However, the nature of the job could change. This brings us to the next step of redesigning jobs in the phase of the pandemic.


Reskill your way to a better future

In the 2020 Global Human Capital Trends survey by Deloitte, 53 percent of respondents said that between half

It is important to ensure that employees continuously develop and advance their capabilities, and contribute to their organizations in new ways and all of their workforce will need to change their skills and capabilities in the next three years. Yet despite the expectation of organizations to do more to address skills and capabilities shortages, our survey shows that most organizations do not have the insights they need to get started. 59 percent said they need additional information to understand the readiness of their workforce to meet new demands, and 38 percent said that identifying workforce development needs and priorities is their greatest barrier to workforce development. To map the skill-requirements, employers must now

wisely invest in data analytics and leverage the available solutions to strengthen their internal talent mobility. The investment made today by employers in the entire reskilling initiative from assessing to training will go a long way. “Both employees and employers must move toward a mindset of continuous learning, contributing to a whole-of-society readiness to handling unexpected disruptions. It is important to ensure that employees continuously develop and advance their capabilities, and contribute to their organizations in new ways,� said Svend Janssen, Head of AUGUST 2020 |

News Feature

But as gig working models become the new reality, government support is needed to introduce policies to support the interests of the freelancers, including wage protection, health benefits and safety assurance. In India, the Karnataka government, in fact, has reportedly commenced deliberations for introducing a new labor legislation focused on the gig economy. In Singapore also the government has increased the focus on creating regulations to support gig workers. Even the organizational culture and the current HR policies of the companies would have to become more inclusive for gig workers. But before employers rejig their working models and organizational structures, they must do an internal talent assessment and check their skills-readiness. A similar exercise should be followed at the national and international level to analyze if the workforce is prepared for the roles in demand in the now and the future of work. Even the workforce has to take the ownership of their own learning and development and see how they can become more job-ready.

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News Feature

Workers who are able to constantly renew their skills and learn new ones are those who will be most able to find employment in today’s rapidly shifting job market Asia at Western Union Business Solutions. Workers who are able to constantly renew their skills and learn new ones are those who will be most able to find employment in today’s rapidly shifting job market. Some of the top skills and jobs that will be in focus include Software & Applications Programmers, Data Analysts, Health Care & Social Assistance, Digital skills, and RPA skills. Soft skills like resilience, adapt-

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| AUGUST 2020

ability, critical thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship will also be high in demand. In short, a balance between artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence. “If anything, this situation has underlined the critical need for visibility and contingency plans in supply chain processes especially for companies whose businesses have been affected due to the supply chain disruption,” said Singaram Venkatachalam, Chief Op-

erations Officer at Botsync. These supply chain personnel working behind the scenes to keep businesses running have never been more critical. Further, as automation in the supply chain is becoming a common practice to ensure continuity, Venkatachalam said it presents the opportunity for restructuring certain job functions, so they add more value than they could originally. “This will take place through re-training and skill enhancement capacities across sectors. The vision for our Botsync Labs division, where we provide robotics training courses and materials, is to help companies re-train their employees to play a more critical and essential role within an automated workspace,” he added. Times are tough for all and the job market is undergoing a transition which no one can any longer ignore. So for all of us, be it the employer or employee, it is time to pull up the socks and respond to the rapidly changing working environment. To ensure business continuity and survive and thrive amid the crisis the focus now has to be equally on redeploying and reskilling talent with better data insights, market awareness and agile organizational culture.


Measuring productivity postCOVID-19

Measuring activity to measuring results

By Shweta Modgil

F

or the first time ever, more employees than ever globally are working from home. From Google to Facebook to TCS to Infosys, many organizations are not planning to let their entire workforce com to office till the end of this year. This calls for a huge rethink on productivity and performance. What exactly is going to be the definition of productivity? How are we going

to measure it? Definitely not the way some organizations are requesting their employees to use their webcams during the official working hours. When people are ending up spending more time working from home, how can we refine our assessment of employees’ work and the rewards they receive, such that it is a fair and equitable reflection of their contribution to the organization?

Senthil Rajagopalan, COO and President of Profit.co, an intuitive, easy to use, comprehensive, OKR tracking software, with over 1100 clients globally shares, “When it comes to productivity and measurement, there are two types of organizations - there is one set of organizations that rigorously focus on timesheets and measurement of the number of hours, which is clearly measurement of activity. In contrast, there are companies that are much more enlightened and really focus on business outcomes, teamwork, and collaboration. What we are finding is that most companies will have to adapt to measuring results rather than activities. This is going to be a fundamental shift post-COVID-19. This will bring in a culture of transparency, with a scoreboard being available for everyone.” AUGUST 2020 |

Productivity & Performance

The traditional system of measuring and compensating employees based primarily upon the number of hours worked is due for overhaul and the coronavirus pandemic provides an opportunity to consider better, fairer alternatives. Can OKRs be that alternative?

Maybe it’s now that the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) philosophy can be deployed more effectively to not only measure productivity in the way it should be but also empower remote leaders and build boundaryless and fair organizations.

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While this is common in many functions such as sales but Senthil believes that now companies that want to survive and thrive will follow this wholeheartedly. Thus measurement of productivity will change from activity to results and will have a lot of focus on corporate goals and teams rather than just individuals.

Productivity & Performance

From annual plans to weekly plans

The situation calls for organizations to refine their assessment of employees’ work and the rewards they receive, such that it is a fair and equitable reflection of their contribution to the organization. And one way of doing it is making the shift from annual plans to weekly plans. Agility demands that business becomes much lighter. Annual plans are not going to cut it. Companies are having much shorter plan-

The measurement of productivity will change from activity to results and will have a lot of focus on corporate goals and teams rather than just individuals 24

| AUGUST 2020

ning life cycles-from quarterly to a few weeks. Everyone has gone from the waterfall model to sprints. I think HR practices really need to reflect the change in agility,” adds Senthil. This means that annual performance goals don’t cut it anymore. Hence under the OKR framework, business need to be reviewed on a weekly basis; similarly, feedback and review should be on a weekly basis. And when organizations align the individual goals with the corporate goals very clearly and provide a very transparent scoreboard, the sense of fairness and equitable reflection of their contribution will be automatically established among employees.

More ownership, better productivity One important aspect of using OKRs to measure

productivity is that they strongly encourage people to have stretch goals. When organizations celebrate the effort towards goals, this leads to employees becoming more self-driven. In OKRs, there is a very strong element of employee empowerment. Right from the target setting that happens with the employee’s buy-in, employees have a lot of freedom and flexibility in how they set the goals and how they will go out achieving them. From goal setting to execution to review, all this instills ownership and empowers employees strongly. Further, companies have been transitioning for some time to a boundaryless organization, with global supply chains and development centers located all over the globe. COVID-19 has only accelerated this situation and OKR is prov-


ing to be a very apt management philosophy for this particular time. Especially now when people are separated, the first challenge that arises is communication-how do you ensure that key priorities are communicated? A system like OKR where you follow the philosophy coupled with cloudbased software brings everyone together on the same page. Also, when the corporate goals are aligned with the individual goals and week

nies are open to taking applications from any state given that most of the organizations will be working from home till the year-end. The same trend could happen in universities where now you could learn from any university (not necessarily near to you) given learning is also going virtual. The same thing will happen in leadership. OKR is known for nurturing self-driven leaders who are driven by results and not activity. Hence OKR framework can

on week, employees see the corporate scoreboard moving, they can automatically see the greater purpose to their work, leading to better engagement, better productivity. In addition, OKRs can help build the new category of “remote leaders” given organizations want to align their business objectives with agility and the muchneeded flexibility. Senthil reveals, “One of the trends in recruitment especially in the US is that now compa-

be a good breeding ground for remote leaders in today’s organizations, especially those who are good in collaboration, communication in the virtual world, and have the business agility that the situation demands.

Productivity measurement post-COVID-19 When it comes to how productivity measurement looks in the future, while it is difficult to make the shift from measuring activity to results, yet Senthil believes

AUGUST 2020 |

Productivity & Performance

When the corporate goals are aligned with the individual goals and week on week, employees see the corporate scoreboard moving, they can automatically see the greater purpose to their work, leading to better engagement, better productivity

it will catch on. The second change will be that HR will have a lot of work wrt competency mapping and reskilling and redeployment of resources. Because COVID-19 is causing a lot of demand displacements, organizations would want their people to reskill in order to step up to this demand and change. In particular, when it comes to measuring productivity, in addition to looking at results, people are also going to look at what is their contribution to the teamwork and to the departmental and corporate goals. Ultimately, we all know that the traditional system of measuring and compensating employees based primarily upon the number of hours worked is due for an overhaul and the coronavirus pandemic provides an opportunity to consider better, fairer alternatives. One of the biggest shifts required is a psychological shift of not judging people on the number of hours they are present. With most employees working remotely, organizations will slowly make progress towards judging people on their results and not activity. And while a complete shift is far away, the OKR philosophy at least provides the perfect starting point for accelerating this change.

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News Feature

Pride Month Celebrations: The pride must go on

Let’s take a look at how Pride Month 2020 was celebrated across organizations, the discrepancies in experience and perception of LGBTQ+ employee benefits across the spectrum, and explore what holds us back from achieving equity By Bhavna Sarin

I

n June 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of LGBTQ+ advocates protecting LGBTQ+ employees, roughly 3.4 million LGBT workers and over 500,000 transgender workers aged 16 and older, against discrimination at the hands of employers. Nearly two years ago India decriminalized Section 377,

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| AUGUST 2020

which essentially held the belief legally that being gay was a criminal offence. Kenya is currently fighting the system for fair and equal treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2019, a study on different rules for LGBTQ+ individuals in different countries was conducted. While LGBTQ+ rights continue to

be fought for, the research revealed that in 70 counties across the globe “consensual same-sex sexual activity is still criminalized, punishable by imprisonment, torture, and even death”. Despite the progress made in certain countries that have enabled them to provide legal protection to LGBTQ+ individuals, the


Celebrating pride

In conversation with People Matters, leaders from across the industry spoke about how they are keeping the spirit of Pride Month alive in the era of digital existence.

Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland shared that the company celebrated Pride with a number of different initiatives, including launching their Gender Expression and Identity Policy; working on knowledge (Under-

The Out@Work Barometer shows that 50 percent of LGBTQ employees are not yet openly out at work

standing) development by promoting a series of articles on the history of Pride and the impact it has had on modern Ireland; and through community development with the LGBT+ Ally Network in IDA Ireland hosting a virtual Table Quiz/ Trivia Night for members. “IDA Ireland has developed a clear Diversity and Inclusion strategy since 2017, focusing on multiple pillars of Diversity, Ability, Gender, Ethnic Minorities, Socio-Economic and LGBT+. Our approach has been to nominate Champions for each pillar, to both develop policies, and also to develop a program of initiatives and events to ensure there is the visibility of the D&I agenda.” Pitney Bowes’ VP HR for APAC and Country Head - Delivery Centers, India, Ruchi Bhalla, shared, “All our policies are gender-neutral and we have consciously sought to create an environment where everyone is valued, respected, can be fully who they are and have the opportunity to do meaningful work. This year, we have partnered with Pride Circle as an ‘Ally’ to support the LGBTQI community by participating in the Virtual #21DaysAllyChallenge. This will help us better understand the LGBTQI Community and the challenges they face.” AUGUST 2020 |

News Feature

stigma continues to exist in volume. Commenting on the findings of the aforesaid research, Jean Freedberg, Director of Global Partnerships, Human Rights Campaign said, “It’s inconceivable that there are places on our planet where people’s lives are at risk for simply being who they are or loving whom they love.” The steps are small, and while there is some progress towards being LGBTQ-friendly, “There’s no country on earth that doesn’t need to do better.” In light of the above, efforts and endeavors to make the world a fair and equitable place to live continue. A reminder of how far we have come was the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall riots, or as we know it and commemorate the events, Pride Month. While the rainbow splash has disappeared from logos of organizations, let’s take a look at how Pride Month was celebrated in 2020, the discrepancies in experience and perception of LGBTQ+ employee benefits across the spectrum, and what holds us back from becoming an equitable community.

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News Feature 28

Companies are ensuring to not just educate themselves, but also celebrate Pride Month with zest and zeal. Talking about how the company is promoting a culture where people can bring their whole selves to work and strip away prejudices and stereotypes, Sudeep Ralhan, VP People, Walmart Labs India told People Matters about the company’s “UNMASK” themed Pride Month celebrations. “To raise awareness and promote a culture of inclusion both internally and externally, we had a host of virtual but immersive experiences throughout the month, including - mask designing contest for our associates and their families, with the theme of ‘All People All Pride’, a special video on the History of Pride, a musical evening with queer artists and allies and a host of activations, including special Zoom backgrounds and leadership messages.” The organization also hosted a LinkedIn Live panel discussion on “Why Inclusivity matters more than ever” with renowned external speakers like Indian Athlete and Olympian Dutee Chand, among others. Mehernosh Mehta, Head HR, Mahindra Logistics, shared that the organization launched its LGBTQ inclusion policy at the beginning | AUGUST 2020

of Pride Month, and to celebrate, “In association with Pride Circle, we conducted an LGBTQ awareness and sensitization session for our leadership team. Additionally, we launched a digital awareness campaign for our employees and in collaboration with Pride circle introduced a 21-day ally challenge (game-based engagement that creates awareness about the community and enhances allyship) for all the employees.”

‘If you are LGBTQ, and you are insured but your partner isn’t. it’s a big problem’

Mapping the progress so far

While advocacy has been tremendous towards enhancement of benefits for LGBTQ+ employees, there is still a very long road ahead. In an interaction with People Matters, Elliot Vaughn, Managing Director, and Partner at BCG in London, shared that the Out @ Work Barometer shows that 50 percent of LGBTQ employees are not yet openly out at work. The legal system of the country plays a critical role in enabling or paralyzing an organization in being able to extend LGBTQ+ friendly employee policies. In recent years, however, through undeterred D&I initiatives, a large number of global organizations have been able to gradually steer a culture of acceptance, though with infinite gaps that continue to exist. A recent report by Blind highlights the discrepancies in culture and perception when it comes to LGBTQ+ inclusion, from an overall organizational perspective as well as from employees across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Here are three key takeaways from the research (The percentages below are indicative of employees saying yes to the corresponding questions): IDA Ireland’s Martin Shanahan shares with People Matters some initiatives introduced by their organ-


Do you feel your company is safe for LGBTQ+ employees?

Are health and family policies inclusive of LGBTQ+ families?

Is your sexual orientation or gender identity represented in the upper management of your company?

Overall perspective

86%

74%

55%

LGBQ employees

76%

69%

35%

Trans and gender non-confirming employees

64%

64%

41%

ization, supporting their LGBT+ employees - created an LGBT+ Ally Network, joined a number of industry groups including OUTstanding, INvolve and the IBEC Diversity Forum; rolled out several Inclusive Training Programs, such as Unconscious Bias and Remote Inclusion, which will be expanded in the future and more programs will be added; and launched the Gender Identity and Expression Policy during Pride Month 2020. At the beginning of Pride Month, Mahindra Logistics Ltd. unveiled its LGBTQIA policy and the intent to employ people from the LGBTQ+ community. Shar-

ing details of the polices, Mehernonsh Mehta, said that existing employees from LGBTQ+ community have been encouraged to declare their status, and upon declaration can avail benefits including but not limited to: • Adoption Leave: Definition of adoptive parents as mentioned in the adoption policy has been extended to single LGBT parents. Such individuals shall be eligible to avail 12-week adoption leave, starting from the date of adoption. • Medical benefits: The medical insurance benefits shall be extended to same sex partners on the declaration of the details of the partner.

Ralhan from Walmart Labs India also talks about a range of programs, policies and benefits undertaken to make their organization more inclusive for the LGBTQIA+ community through the year, which include: • A visible Associate Resource Group lead by a Leadership Team member, encouraging the concept of “safe space” conversations • Sensitization sessions for all support staff in the facilities to avoid uncomfortable situations, especially with their transgender associates • Gender-neutral washrooms • Day Care benefits extended to single parents, primary and secondary caregivers • Insurance Benefits: including same sex partners; covering gender realignment surgery • Inclusive Leave Policy: adoption and surrogacy leave for single parents which is same as maternity leave AUGUST 2020 |

News Feature

Exploring what SOGIESC represents will enable you to understand that being LGBTQ+ is a lot more than who your partner is. It is about who you are, it’s about being authentic in understanding, identifying and expressing yourself

• Counseling Services: LGBTQ employees can avail counseling services on request for self and 3 immediate family members. Employees can avail counseling services for their same- sex partner, who will be included in the definition of family, with respect to this policy.

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knowledge, culture and facilities that still position LGBTQ+ individuals at a disadvantage. In the words of Ana Mendy, a McKinsey partner, “companies have to move beyond mere gestures of support for queer and trans people” if they want to engage a new generation of workers and consumers who increasingly prioritize diversity and inclusion. Here are some steps to move beyond advocacy, towards action:

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Scratching the surface for LGBTQ+ inclusion

A recent report brought out one of the many episodes that members of the LGBTQ+ community have to experience, if not protected. “When he was attacked by a mob for being gay, Martin Okello said the kicks and blows from his assailants came so fast that he couldn't stop them or flee. He passed out and was left for dead in Nairobi's low-income neighborhood of Kawangware.” The report spoke about his life in Uganda and how it all came down when “a male sex worker tried to extort Okello for $10 and outed him as gay. He was then fired from the Christian radio station where he worked and was kicked out of his home by his Catholic | AUGUST 2020

parents. The same day that he was forced to leave home, he was attacked by a group of people but managed to take shelter at a friend's house.” Far too often, once individuals come out to their families as being on the spectrum, they are subjected to ridicule, shame and often, abandonment. They are also at risk of being attacked by mobs, causing them to in some cases flee their home country to seek solace and asylum in foreign countries. To provide shelter and support to them, several nations have constructed refugee asylums. One such asylum helped Okello survive. While we can discuss the positives and the developments, one cannot overlook the vast lack of rights,

• Education: A famous saying goes this way - “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance” - the cost of this ignorance has been borne by LGBTQ+ individuals and their families for centuries. One acronym - SOGIESC. If the global community endeavors to understand this acronym, we will begin to scratch the surface of a fair world, or at least a less inhuman one, for all. SOGIESC stands for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics. Exploring what SOGIESC represents will enable you to understand that being LGBTQ+ is a lot more than who your partner is, it is about who you are, it’s about being authentic in understanding, identifying and expressing yourself.


Let’s not allow inequality to breed in the face of lack of education and years of ignorance on understanding what people truly entail, outside the social constructs and accepted definitions of human behavior

employees the same status as other employees when it comes to definition and inclusion of LGBTQ+ employee families in organizational benefits. “If you are LGBTQ, and you are insured but your partner isn’t, it’s a big problem,” shared Godrej India Culture Lab’s Founder, Parmesh Shahani, in an exclusive conversation with People Matters. • Leadership representation: Hiring LGBTQ+ employees is just one aspect of attempting to be inclusive, a truly inclusive organization would show such support and stand, by having LGBTQ+ representation in the leadership. History is witness to

how having an LGBTQ+ leader enhances the ability of an organization and nation to build greater equity for all.

News Feature

• Equal rights for trans segments: LGBTQ+ is often considered as a unit, not realizing the intricacies and differentiating factors and requirements of individuals across the spectrum. Owing to this ignorance, one of the most overlooked segments of LGBTQ+ is the trans community. The trans community requires greater advocacy, protection and need their voice to be heard, challenging the colonial outlook and all the notions that keep them from living a life with basic human rights. • Extending policies to partners of LGBTQ employees: Steps and policies are being taken towards inclusion, however, companies are yet to provide LGBTQ+

It’s not too late to educate yourself on the injustice that the LGBTQ+ community has been bearing for decades. It’s not too late to pause and reflect on why we continue to discriminate and are not taking a stronger stand to protect and look out for each other. Let’s not allow inequality to breed in the face of lack of education and years of ignorance on understanding what people truly entail, outside the social constructs and accepted definitions of human behavior. AUGUST 2020 |

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Gender Equality

Women, please say NO The six countries that demonstrated the greatest ability in responding to COVID-19 Germany, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Belgium and Iceland - all had one thing in common - women leadership How different or similar were the circumstances of Jacinda Ardern, Marlene Schiappa, and Sanna Marin vs those countless women who continue to be belittled, exploited, abused and ‘shown their place’ because they are ‘women’. Where are the gaps and how is COVID-19 damaging years of progress on women upliftment? Let’s find out By Bhavna Sarin

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eyond the appalling numbers of domestic violence cases that are gaining visibility, what also has caught the attention of many is how across the globe, the six countries that demonstrated the greatest ability in responding to COVID19 - Germany, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Belgium and Iceland - all had one thing in common women leadership. Yet, the | AUGUST 2020

reality closer to many homes is this: Child: Mom, I am hungry. Husband: What’s for dinner? After 10hours of office work on the laptop, 3hours of household chores; waking up before the entire family to accommodate both home and work with no time for herself, yet not compromising on efforts for either, and despite being told:

• She isn't present for her child • She isn’t looking after the house, a house shared by her and her partner (who in majority of the cases if not all, believes it is not his job to look after the house or the child or well, the kitchen) at the least, in the company of a child or two, parents or in-laws • Being accused by family for not being there for them, and by colleagues for not participating enough in workplace catch-ups • Told by her partner that her income will not run the household • Beaten up by her partner because..well any reason that the partner finds reason enough really


quences of COVID-19 are: • Economic and workplace setback • Health and safety • Education Let’s find out what’s happening across these segments and how we can work towards repairing the damage.

Economic and workplace setback

In 2019, months away from the global crisis triggered by COVID-19, the World Economic Forum predicted it would take 257 years to reach economic parity between women and men. As astounding as the preCOVID estimate is, what’s more devastating is that the emerging circumstances have caused this figure to increase much more, taking away years of progress in achieving, rather establishing the ground and pace for equity, putting not just the current generation, but those that are yet to come at a significant disadvantage. The global gender pay gap is stuck at 16 percent, with women paid up to 35 percent less than men in some coun-

Only 25 percent of women seek business financing in comparison to 33.3 percent men, yet, women receive an average loan size of $38,942 vs men receiving an average loan size of $43,916 - a difference of $5,000

tries. Statistics reveal that on average, women spend 4.1 hours per day on unpaid care and domestic work, men spend 1.7 hours a day. When women’s contribution to all kinds of care is considered, the value stands at $11 Tn. That’s not it. In a market scenario where men and women play identical roles in labor markets, an additional influx of $28 Tn could be gained in the 2025 global annual GDP. According to UN Women’s latest policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on women, “From past experience and emerging data, it is possible to project that the impact of the COVID19 global recession will result in a prolonged dip in women’s incomes and labor force participation, with compounded impacts for women already living in poverty.”

Gender Equality

• No help for household chores • Innumerable accusations of a whole variety of nature After all the above, with a smile on her face, the mother, the wife, the daughter, the daughter-in-law, the sister replies - “What would you like to eat? Let me make that for you.” In a recent blog, CARE International’s Secretary-General, Sofia Sprechmann said, “The longerterm impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be equal for women and men. We are currently experiencing the biggest setback in gender equality for a generation.” The example shared above is just an everyday example of what happens at homes across the globe, in a majority of households, if not all. We are well aware of what has been happening at the workplace, which is why global initiatives were put in place to bring about gender equity, gender equality and also the aspirational hope of gender pay parity. However, the three biggest concern areas for women today, amplified by the conse-

Health and safety

Looking at unpaid care work, in addition to conventional industries like services, healthcare, hospitality, the number of women that are at risk every single day, being exposed to COVID-19 by the nature of their work, would be beyond comprehension, however, here are some findings: • 77 percent of the NHS workforce in the UK and the majority of informal carers are women AUGUST 2020 |

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Gender Equality

• Beyond UK, an analysis of 104 countries revealed that women form 70 percent of the employee base in the health and social sectors, and 50 percent of unpaid carers • Out of 7,329 healthcare workers infected by COVID-19 in Spain, 72 percent were women and 28 percent men • Out of 10,657 healthcare workers infected by COVID-19 in Italy, 66 percent were women and 34 percent men Amid business crisis, while D&I initiatives might have taken a backseat, it might take longer for leaders to realize the impact of the global pandemic on the home environment of employees. In the duration 4th March - 23rd March, the National Commission for Women in India received over 123 complaints of domestic violence and 370 calls. The number goes upwards if we consider the global numbers on domestic violence. A New York Times reporter brought out many such cases across China, Spain, Britain, highlighting what experts now call - ‘intimate terrorism’.

Education

Education is the way out of ignorance, to breakthrough years of patriarchy and misguided beliefs on 34

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the role of women in society. Yet, another dent in the global battle to uplift women has been on education. According to UNESCO, 89 percent of students globally, representing 1.54 billion children, including nearly 743 million girls, are currently out of school due to COVID-19 closures. In reference to these statistics, an article co-authored by Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International and Stefania Giannini, Assistant Deputy Director, UNESCO, stated, “Over 111 million of these girls are living in the world’s least developed countries where getting an education is already a struggle. These are contexts of extreme poverty, economic vulnerability and crisis where gender disparities in

education are highest” The article also highlighted that in the Global South, where limited social protection measures are in place, “economic hardships caused by the crisis will have spill-over effects as families consider the financial and opportunity costs of educating their daughters.”

Action steps

How different or similar were the circumstances of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, France’s Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa, Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin vs those countless women who continue to be belittled, exploited, abused and “shown their place” because they are “women”? History is witness to the fact that when women


• Women, please say no: Change begins at home. While women have been abiding by age-old expectations both at home as well as at the workplace, it is time for them to say no. No to tasks and demands that question their commitment, proficiency or put their well-being at risk, be it at home or at work. Women need to draw a line and begin saying no to

Amid crisis, while D&I initiatives might have taken a backseat, it might take longer for leaders to realize the impact of the global pandemic on the home environment of employees demands, chores and work imposed on them due to their gender. • Supporting womenled businesses: Only 25 percent of women seek business financing in comparison to 33.3 percent men, yet, women receive an average loan size of $38,942 vs men receiving an average loan size of $43,916 - a difference of $5,000. Women have it in them to lead nations out of crisis; one can only make a wild guess on the number of such mini nations that women can build and lead, given the opportunity and means. • Amplify STEM initiatives: Demand for online schooling and tutoring has led to a boost for STEM avenues. This comes as a great opportunity to counter the impact of COVID on education for

young girls, by providing opportunities and tieingup with associations, NGOs and corporates at the local level to ensure learning does not stop. • Organizational governance on safety: Organizations need to strengthen their focus and broaden the scope of employee safety through educating, sensitizing and equipping the workforce with the knowledge, tools and access to resources to protect themselves. Provide access to dedicated 24*7 helplines, legal aid and resources on shelter homes to employees, and where possible extend such provisions beyond the organization, to help the vulnerable with basic provisions to defend themselves against violence and abuse. The pandemic has caused significant large-scale setbacks for women, both in workplace opportunities as well as personal safety. Nonetheless, the commitment to get back up, banking on the learnings of yesterday and pushing back against everything that holds them back, rebooting through crisis and surviving chaos, the existing generation shall usher in an era of strength and courage, defeating all the voices that mock their ability to become much more than what is expected of them. AUGUST 2020 |

Gender Equality

put their foot down, no one can stop them, yet there are eventual boundaries that curtail their growth. We all have come across women in our lives who were brave enough to voice their opinions and shut out the noise that held them back. While some could do it all on their own, some needed a little push, and the magnificent economic disparities cause a majority to require social, legal, financial backing as well as monumental changes to colonial beliefs and values that confine them to the four walls of a house, or the confinement of a glass ceiling, also distant from welldeserved paychecks, keep them from being able to realize and actualize their potential. If we are to reshape the future and improve the present circumstances, here are some immediate actions that we can consider:

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Financial We ll-be ing

Brightside’s funding

and wider benefits trend Brightside’s $35 million funding points to wider benefits trends: Employer-sponsored financial care and support platforms By People Matters Editorial

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OVID-19 has caused untold disruption and left many uncertain about their futures. By some estimates, the global economy will not return to normal until | AUGUST 2020

at least 2022. Jobs have been lost and savings have been wiped out; plans have shifted and the way we work has fundamentally changed. Under COVID19, the unique potential of technology has also accelerated. Pressure has led to invention and innovation. Advances that may not have happened for years - or even decades - have now been made out of sheer necessity. The world is changing at a rapid pace.

One area in which fastmoving issues of health, money and tech coalesce is in the growth financial care platforms. This week, one such platform, Brightside, announced it has raised $35.1 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from existing investors Comcast Ventures and Trinity Ventures, the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund, and others.


Clearly, COVID-19 has only amplified the necessity of excellent financial literacy. Brightside, and other services like them, are helping companies bolster their benefits, extending a muchneeded financial lifeline to employees during this unprecedented time.

Physical, mental and financial health - three branches of the same tree The health implications of COVID-19 are well-documented, and the impact of the outbreak will be felt for some time to come. In order to understand how best to help employees, leaders

must depart from the notion that physical, mental and financial well-being are separate entities and rather embrace a holistic approach to workplace wellness, one that encompasses all three aspects of care. The figures are stark: in a 2018 US Financial Health Pulse Survey, it was revealed that 72 percent of Americans are financially unhealthy. Even before the crisis, a Willis Towers Watson survey found almost 40 percent of US workers were living paycheck to paycheck and a similar number couldn’t come up with $3,000 if an unexpected need arose within the next month. The

The COVID-19 crisis is a reset. Fusing financial care to employment could be at the vanguard of this pivot point in history

AUGUST 2020 |

Financ ial We ll-be ing

One among a number of financial care platforms, Brightside’s model works by providing human-centric advice on financial health via their dedicated financial assistants. These platforms not only boost financial literacy and wellness, but bind financial well-being to employment in a way previously reserved only for healthcare and employment. Through the many services provided - improving credit scores, debt refinancing, loan assistance, automated debt repayments, sourcing government and community benefits and the removal of admin fees - Brightside saves an average of $1200 per employee per year. In a world where financial stress cost companies approximately $4000 per year per employee, this represents a tremendous competitive advantage. As we move into the Next Normal, this is an area leaders cannot afford to ignore. Alex Rampell, General Partner at a16z, a leading funder of Brightside’s latest offer, had this to say: “employers are uniquely motivated and positioned to improve employee financial health, during business-asusual and especially during times of economic crisis, but need a single platform that simply curates and integrates the myriad of point solutions in a way that really works for employees.”

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pandemic has also revealed how few people actually have emergency savings. For many, financial well-being extends beyond retirement plans, mortgages and has become about survival - especially now. How are organizations, through fintech, rising to meet this challenge?

Financial We ll-be ing

The long shadow of financial anxiety

Employers have always known that money woes cast a long shadow. Financial worries follow team members to the offices, with a deep-rooted impact on productivity, retention and overall company culture. Last year, in a survey by Salary Finance, it was revealed that financiallyanxious employees were 2.2x more likely to look for another job, 5.8x more likely to miss deadlines.

Employers are in a unique position to alleviate these worries and therefore bring relief, value and motivation to their employees’ lives. According to a 2019 John Hancock Financial Stress Survey, only 18 percent of respondents said they would consider themselves confident to manage their own financial decisions and almost half of respondents said worrying about finances at work makes them less productive. Beyond output, though, money and finances are a uniquely human problem, one that every person, on some level, will have to reckon with at some point. Finances and mental health are undeniably intertwined: according to the Salary Finance study, workers who struggle with cashflow are 3.4x more likely to experience panic attacks and 4x

more likely to experience depression. If employees are concerned about putting food on the table, that leaves little room for all those thought skills that will be increasingly desirable, particularly in the Next Normal; things like creativity, ingenuity, agility and empathy will fall by the wayside if basic needs cannot be met. What’s more - these platforms work. The same John Hancock survey found that 77 percent of employees believe “employer-sponsored financial wellness [are] programs important,” and that employees at companies with financial wellness programs in place are more likely to have increased their retirement plan contributions, written a household budget and written a plan for retirement. All of these steps towards financial security will have tangible benefits both for the company and the employee. Even better - these programs don’t have to cost companies much. In fact, platforms like Brightside may even save money - both in the long term, and right now.

Cutting costs and making paychecks go further

With a global recession on the horizon, cost-cutting will likely begin to form the bedrock of many company policies going forward. Redundancies, lay-offs and cuts 38

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Leaders must depart from the notion that physical, mental and financial wellbeing are separate entities and rather embrace a holistic approach to workplace wellness

gency savings. Looking to the future, leaders can steer workers away from taking out expensive, debilitating personal loans and keep such exchanges “in-house” to better control repayments. Employers reassure their workers that while salary cuts may be temporary, the financial support received - and decisions made as a result - will have a ripple effect and generate value long into the future. In many ways, the COVID-19 crisis is a reset. Fusing financial care to employment could be at the vanguard of this pivot point in history.

The new benefit

Extending a financial lifeline is a growing trend among employers. Brightside has been around since 2018, and is part of a wider circuit of actionable platforms that motivate and enable workers

to achieve financial stability and, hopefully, mental and physical stability as well. Other companies out there include platforms such as Financial Finesse that aim to build “holistic workplaces where employees value their purpose as much as their paycheck.” Just this week, Cetera Financial Group announced the incorporation of eight financial wellness modules into their Cetera Resiliency Pack, which aims to drive better decisionmaking on everything from home owning to 401k plans to insurance plans. Funding rounds such as Brightside’s prove there is a vast market for financial wellness programs. Employers can harness this moment into a mutually beneficial exchange, balancing their budgets, maximizing value and providing security for their people at a time when uncertainty is rife. AUGUST 2020 |

Financ ial We ll-be ing

to hours and salary have been widespread and will continue to be so for some time. From an employee's perspective, this landscape can appear desperate, unfair - even hopeless. For ambitious professionals and talented individuals looking to move up the career ladder, how can leaders offer competitive benefits, while simultaneously driving down costs? Financial wellness advice and solutions may be the key. As Tom Spann, CEO and co-founder of Brightside outlines, “we have proven that a holistic approach, combined with financial products built for this population, can have a significant effect on people's lives and on the employer's bottom line.” After announcing pay reductions, for example, leaders could mitigate the news with the promise of loan support, debt relief, financial advice or assistance with building emer-

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AT CISCO, PEOPLE COME FIRST: ASHLEY GOODALL, SVP, METHODS & INTELLIGENCE

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In this exclusive interview, Ashley Goodall, Senior Vice President, SVP, Methods & Intelligence, Cisco, talks about what has changed in work, workplace, and workforce over the years and how in times like these, effective leadership is critical By Mastufa Ahmed

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Here are the excerpts of the interview.

You have over two decades of experience in HR and leadership development. What has changed in work, workplace, and workforce over the years? Technology has changed how we all interact with each other at work and outside of work. We can work from home and construct organizations that are truly global with teams that are truly global as well. With the rise of social media, there are many more voices in the world. We also expect that the technologies we use at work will be as useful as the technologies we use outside of work. What has not changed? Humans are still tribal.

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and embed it into our people practices and systems? The new approaches he has pioneered address everything from performance management to feedback, to team activation technology, to realtime team intelligence, to social network mapping, to strengths-based leadership— and together, these challenge much of the conventional wisdom of work today. Ashley is the co-author, with Marcus Buckingham, of Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World (Harvard Business Review Press, April 2019), and of two cover stories in the Harvard Business Review: The Feedback Fallacy, (March/April 2019), and Reinventing Performance Management, (April 2015).

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shley Goodall is an executive, leadership expert, and author, and has spent his career exploring large organizations from the inside. He looks for lessons from the real world that help people and teams thrive, and that make work a more human place for all of the humans in it. His first experiences of teams and leadership were as a student musician and conductor. He was fascinated by the unspoken understanding between people playing together and carried this fascination into the corporate world. He is currently the Senior Vice President of Methods and Intelligence, the data and research engine behind all the people stuff at Cisco. His organization aims to reveal the answers to some of the most challenging questions about work. How can we measure the experience at work reliably? Of the things that we can measure, which matter most? And how can we take what matters most

Technology has changed how we all interact with each other at work and outside of work. We can work from home and construct organizations that are truly global AUGUST 2020 | august

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We still receive our greatest satisfaction and stability from working with people, and when we are denied that experience, we shrink a little. When that experience is given to us, but is a negative one, we suffer. This has been so for hundreds of thousands of years, and it is certainly not going to change anytime soon.

How do you build a successful, enduring culture, and how do you sustain that culture? How would you define Cisco’s culture and what makes it unique? The funny thing about how we experience work is that when you start measuring it, you find out it varies more within an organization than between one organization and the next. So, the idea that any organization has a uniform experi-

ence that distinguishes it from some other organization has no basis in the data. This is why the conversation about culture can be frustrating for many of us who work at large organizations; it seems remote. The local experience, the team experience, always trumps the company experience because it is what we live. And the two most important elements of that experience, in turn, are the communal experience of a team— what it offers to all of its members—and the individual experience of a team— what it offers to each of its members. At Cisco, we have 15,000 team leaders. At the end of last year, 51% of our people were fully engaged; they were having the best possible team experience. And that is what we are challenging ourselves to do, to create a best-team experi-

ence for every employee at Cisco. HR plays an important role in enabling and equipping digital leaders in the organization with the essential skills and furthering their leadership characteristics. How is Cisco enabling its digital leaders with skills of the future? Our focus is not so much on skills of the future, but on the skills of the leader. There are some eternal truths to those skills: the skills of paying attention frequently to the people on the team, the skills of understanding what is special about each individual and how to bring that out, the skills of understanding the right way to support the growth of each person, the skills of helping people navigate their career opportunities in an organization. These are in many ways old fashioned, but they are what’s important, and they are what we focus on.

Describe an instance of implementing a companywide change? What strategies did you take and what was the outcome? How do you overtake resistance? We spent two and a half years rolling out our team technology, which we call Team Space. We started with a pilot where we included everyone in the HR organization so they could explain the technology as it rolled 42

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and easy. The fundamental challenge is to help people see that the differences between team members are a fantastic feature and not a bug. When you do that, you get people to pull on one another’s strengths, on their energies. You get people to pull on the best of each person, and all of a sudden, two plus two equals 14. But we are not wired to do that. We look at other

We are terribly excited about a collection of technologies that uproot people. We have not yet discovered in the future or the present to root people most powerfully. Until we do this, we will continue to find that the world of work is less than what it could be Can you share some instances of challenges that you might have faced in terms of team building, creating the right culture, or anything else? How did you get over them? The fundamental challenge of team building is that we are all weird to everybody else. We are not weird to ourselves because we are with ourselves all of the time. But, to everybody else, we are weird. We can do things that to others seem to be enormously difficult or far-fetched. And we are not good in the areas that other people think are obvious

people and say they are just not very good at this or that. That is the opposite mindset that builds a great team. A great team has a mindset where each of us can, without fear, explain what we are not very good at and what does not energize us, and at the same time, lean into our teammates for what they are magnificent at. A great team leader has conversations with their team about what makes each person unique. They distribute and design the work to harness each person’s strengths. They talk one-on-one to everybody on the team about how they AUGUST 2020 |

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To make a success of digital transformation, effective leadership and a mature organization culture is required. What is the mindset that leaders require in order to succeed in a digital world? We have massively rotated on digital and massively under-rotated on humans. Digital technology is a tool that enables us to plan, communicate, and connect. It is a medium, not content itself. We have new channels, but the people on the other end of the channels

are still people. The challenge for leaders is to not get distracted by the nextgeneration, futuristic, leading-edge thing. The job of a team leader is to turn the fears, aspirations, spikes, and uniqueness of humans into something useful. When it comes to leadership, the technology you use to support you in your job as a leader, is the less important than the way you do that job.

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out more broadly, and we included a couple of select business groups as well. We used the pilot to test the technology and the communications. Then, for the next phase, we included a 10,000-employee business to know that we could deploy at that scale. We did that for three months, and then after that, we divided the rest of Cisco into 10,000-employee chunks and went one by one through them. We continued to make the changes by quantifying the impacts of those who had fully embraced the new set of rituals and behaviors and those who were still on the sidelines. We did this to demonstrate to organization leaders, team leaders, and employees that there were tangible differences and improvements to be had when they leaned in.

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do their best work. And they keep going at this for a long, long time.

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Rethinking performance management is at the top of many executive teams’ agendas, as we were told my many people managers and CHROs. What according to you will define the new frontiers of performance management? Firstly, it will not contain ratings. Many performance management approaches do not contain ratings today. We know that ratings are bad data, and we know that the process of manufacturing ratings wastes a lot of time that could be put to much better use at work. Secondly, the fundamental currency of a performance management system should be frequent attention to the humans in our teams. We know that this is the most powerful thing to actually lift levels of performance over time. And the point of performance management, of course, is not to categorize performance as much as it is to enhance and increase it over time. Thirdly, we know that the best way to measure what a team leader thinks of somebody on their team is not to have them attach a rating to that person, but to describe how they would invest in them. And so, the performance management system of the future will have some | AUGUST 2020

way of understanding which investments we decided to make in people—who did we decide to move, who did we decide to promote, who did we decide to give a stretch assignment to—and ask which of those decisions we followed through on, and then use those as a gauge of what our team leaders actually think about their team members.

What’s your role at Cisco and how do you bring value to the business? Over the last five years, I have led a team at Cisco that figures out how to make more teams like our best teams and more leaders like our best leaders. We help our leaders and teams by providing them with the best quality intelligence, the best quality data. We have introduced a technology for

every team to use. We have reinvented the way that we do learning. We have overhauled the way we think about team leadership and the way that we train leaders. We have transformed the way that we do organizational listening. We have pushed into social network analysis as a way to understand patterns of team formation over time. We have pioneered new approaches to performance management. The next frontier for us will be to see if we can establish some universal guidelines across the organization for what makes a great team, what makes a great learning experience, what makes a great meeting, what makes a great interview, and at the same time, to continue our research in all areas of


organizational effectiveness so that we can continue to be informed by the best science has to offer us.

Leadership, just like the role of a symphony conductor, is an exercise in helping people feel the same thing at the same time so that we all move together. It is an exercise in listening, serving, shaping, and empowering voluntary basis, or outsourcing jobs to algorithms. These are some profound changes. I worry that in all of those changes, we lose something if we are not very careful, which is that people have a need for stability. People have a need for a place to call their own, if you like. People have a need for predictability, for rootedness. We are terribly excited

metaphor for any other sort of team. Everybody has a different specialty, in other words, different strengths. There is, of course, a set of instructions for how all of these things should be combined because everybody has a score in front of them. And yet, the score does not really contain the music. The music only happens when you play

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What experiences, people, or philosophies have most influenced the way you view and practice leadership, and why? Back when I was in undergrad, I thought I was going to be a symphony conductor, and I spent a year conducting one of the student orchestras. An orchestra is a very interesting and deep

the score, and the person whose job it is to translate the score into music is the conductor. The funny thing about a conductor is firstly, the conductor has his or her back to the audience, to the consumer. The conductor is not engaging with the consumer at all but is instead engaging with the musicians who are then engaging with the consumer. And, of course, the second thing is that the product that the orchestra is making, and the consumers are consuming, is noise. The only person not making any music is the conductor. So, what is that person doing? When you do it for a little while, you discover that the only thing that person does is make space for others to perform. It is not an exercise in instruction. It is an exercise in space making. It is an exercise in helping people feel the same thing at the same time so that we all move together. It is an exercise in listening, serving, shaping, and empowering. That is my philosophy of leadership.

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How do you view the ever-changing landscape of technology, jobs scenario, and the future of work? I think we can all talk about the future of work when the present of work is taken care of, but sadly, I do not think that time has yet arrived. It is very easy to get caught up in talking about the gig economy, slicing work into smaller and smaller chunks, asking people who are not on our company’s payroll to do some of those chunks on a

about a collection of technologies that uproot people. We have not yet discovered in the future or the present to root people most powerfully. Until we do this, we will continue to find that the world of work is less than what it could be.

How can business leaders gear up to sail through the impending situation? What's Cisco's take on leadership at a crisis time like this? Cisco's priorities are very clear right now: People come first. AUGUST 2020 |

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Melanie Cook

Nothing ventured, nothing learned In the COVID-19 era, the road to sustainable digital transformation begins with engaged employees

Digital Transformation

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hat we do today makes our tomorrow. At Hyper Island, we are navigating through COVID-19, because of the strategic foundations that we put in place last year. Jogging has turned into sprinting, but we’ve embraced the process. I jest that we are not only changing the wheels while driving, but we are changing the chassis, engine and gearbox too. Similarly, leaders of learning have the enormous challenge of helping employees to work, bond and learn remotely, within the limitation of necessarily stringent technology security protocols. EngageRocket's ‘Employee Engagement Research’ shows that more than three out of five people in Singapore are happy to work from home for some of the week moving forward. This clearly indicates that our new way of working looks like it is going to be our status quo. | AUGUST 2020

Online learning has a bad reputation. People, unfortunately, imagine lonely hours staring at a screen, listening to a lecturer talking through slide after slide Embracing the next normal in the way we learn

Online learning has a bad reputation. People, unfortunately, imagine lonely hours staring at a screen, listening to a lecturer talking through slide after slide. Some may have stretched to a collabo-

rative whiteboard, but that is probably as far as any interaction goes. Challenged by the leadership at a leading life insurer - AIA Singapore, Hyper Island set out to change that narrative. We applied humancentered design in the social space to bring to life


We orchestrated an engaging online learning experience that is creative, handson, social and personal for over 1,000 employees split across 143 teams

and builds trust within the teams who are not physically together; • Leadership training and intervention where AIA leadership also learned to role-model, support and challenge learners throughout the journey. The Programme successfully started a movement within AIA Singapore, building on their culture of experimentation to pursue a differentiated approach for digital transformation – by investing in its people first and foremost.

Making transformation immediate, impactful and focused

Hyper Island has changed AIA Singapore’s business model to meet their clients’ and learners’ ever-changing needs in a remote-everything world. AIA Singapore started this journey with us in 2019, and the digital transformation foundations we laid last year are bearing fruit this year. Amid Covid-19, AIA Singapore has built a digitally-enabled company to empower healthier, longer, better lives from the ground up through its people. Their readiness to embrace innovation and agility to weather the storm will put them on firm standing to excel this year.

Digital Transformation

our pedagogy of learningby-doing, leading to the creation of ‘The Digital Ei8ht Programme’. The Program was designed to inculcate business agility, experimentation, self-leadership and team development. Live-learning sessions included individual and group problem solving, remote prototyping, reflection, as well as the foundational theory. Digital Ei8ht turned current online teaching practices and metrics on its head. We orchestrated an engaging online learning experience that is creative, handson, social and personal for over 1,000 employees split across 143 teams. Throughout, we achieved 69 percent engagement rate versus the low industry average of between 5 percent to 15 percent, more commonly • On-the-job, real-time associated with Massive Open learning and practice; Online Courses (MOOC). • A learning community Better yet, 62 percent of that leveraged Workthe learners had formed new place by Facebook and MS habits resulting in a digitallyTeams platforms to tackle enabled learning organizatasks together; tion. 3,400 new ideas have • The integration of Hyper since flourished, 19 protoIsland's proprietary chattypes are in testing now, bot facilitator that tracked and currently cross-funcengagement levels, tional teams regularly work collected submissions together to solve problems. and nudged learners to do more; A deep dive into the • Gamification, so learnlearning experience ers are extrinsically motiDigital Ei8ht has 20 hours of vated through healthy online training and assessteam competition; ments over eight weeks • Tools and techniques that which include: support distributed work

Melanie Cook is the Managing Director of Hyper Island, APAC AUGUST 2020 |

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I N TERVIEW

Inclusion is inviting participation, not just attendance: CEO, IDA Ireland Martin D. Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland talks to People Matters about the need for communication technology to enable employees in maintaining the connect, the role of technology in keeping up with the D&I momentum, and Pride Month 2020 By Bhavna Sarin 48

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With remote working taking over the world of work overnight, what has been the impact of virtual workplaces on how you interact with employees? We have shifted from in-person to virtual meetings, events and training sessions to talk, share and collaborate; and reinforce our commitment to D&I within the agency.

Across the world, this global pandemic and the measures to address it will impact different groups in different ways and there is a fear that the impact will be greatest on those that are already most vulnerable •

With this in mind we haveHeld CEO-led virtual town halls with global colleagues to share the latest updates and hear direct questions and feedback from our 20+ global offices Created targeted online content featuring global team members, and how we are all in this together Shared supporting online content spanning wellbeing and mental health, caring for others, remote working/management Hosted special events online - IDA Talent Competition, CSR Fundraising/Sports Challenge, and our first LGBT+ Ally Network online event Held all our performance & development reviews with employees virtually, which includes a specific focus on well-being and

personal development • Ensured all teams meet informally and formally regularly • Supported accommodations and additional flexibility to support individual colleagues needs and challenges

What are the biggest workplace challenges for marginalized communities in the wake of social distancing? Are there any particular benefits that can be provided for employees? As all economies slowly recover from this crisis, there is a responsibility on everyone (industry, government and citizens) to ensure that all communities benefit from opportunities for work and economic stability. This will require collaboration between industry and other stakeholders to consider the needs and contributions of marginalized groups in the months ahead. We see in Ireland that a significant number of people have lost their jobs and as an investment promotion agency, IDA Ireland will be at the forefront of trying to attract investments to create new jobs within the economy. Across the world, this global pandemic and the measures to address it will impact different groups in different ways and there is a fear that the impact will be greatest on those that AUGUST 2020 |

I N TERVIEW

artin D. Shanahan is the CEO of Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Ireland, and an Adjunct Full Professor at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business. Martin has been at the forefront of the development of enterprise and innovation policy in Ireland including leading, at the official level, the development of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs between 2011 and 2014. Prior to IDA, Martin was the CEO of Forfás and worked in a number of senior executive roles in the organization. Earlier in his career, he held a number of senior management positions in the private sector in tourism and hospitality. Martin was in the top 5 of the top 30 Leading Public Sector LGBT+ Executives on the Financial Times Outstanding 2018 list. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

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are already most vulnerable. Access to technology will be key. Ireland is fortunate that companies operating here have had a very positive experience in working remotely, Ireland has the infrastructure to allow this to happen. Before COVID-19, IDA was already on a journey to address the socio-economic disparity. As a first step in our organization IDA is working with the OpenDoors Initiative to open up our organization to diversify and augment our talent pool by bringing in colleagues from marginalized areas of our society. OpenDoors is an Irish organization that seeks to provide opportunities for marginalized members of society such as refugees, asylum seekers, non-native speakers, young people with educational barriers and people with disabilities.

What are the roadblocks in achieving inclusion in the current scenario? How can organizations overcome these roadblocks? I think adopting various forms of communication technology allows employees to communicate in a way that suits them best. The entire organization will not adapt within the same timeframe to using a given new technology and we need to be flexible in how colleagues choose to communicate with each other to get the work 50

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done. Leadership needs to ensure that the entire team remains engaged to avoid the emergence of in-groups and out-groups in the remote working environment. With face to face meetings and travel currently not possible, it does open up the possibility for collaboration across geographies. With no additional cost to people joining virtual meetings, it can help to include more people in meetings where important information is communicated and important decisions are made.

IDA Ireland launched the ‘Gender Identity and Expression Policy’ during Pride Month 2020. Can you tell us about this policy and how will it benefit the LGBTQ+ employees? IDA Ireland, as part of its Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, is committed to enabling a workplace that integrates, benefits from, and achieves equality for our diverse employees, as

well as promoting an inclusive workplace that celebrates and supports diversity. The Gender Identity and Expression Policy is a core component of IDA’s commitment to Diversity & Inclusion. The policy provides a framework for individual employees and managers to best support colleagues that are transitioning. The purpose of this policy is to provide information and guidance to staff and managers and to ensure transgender and transitioning staff feel supported in IDA and that transphobia is prevented, while ensuring IDA remains compliant with legislation.

What pockets do you see as focus areas to foster and enhance inclusion as organizations transition towards work-life integration? One of our four core values at IDA is our People. For the first time, we are seeing new facets of our people because they are working from home. On occasion we are meeting children, partners, pets and even parents in some cases. We are seeing what photos and art people have on their walls, it’s a rare opportunity to get to know my team that bit more and for them to get to know me. Our full lives have arrived at the workplace and we are embracing that.


We are also seeing the anxiety or fear caused by the pandemic. We have made a conscious effort to normalize questions like “How are you keeping?”, “How are you adjusting to working from home?”, “How is the family doing?” If conversations don’t start that way, they end that way. We have focused on interacting with the entire person, not just the “worker” or the business agenda. Inclusion means our teams bring their full selves to work and we acknowledge and appreciate that.

• • • •

have seen the importance of this in the fight against COVID-19 Empathy Managing Hybrid teams Flexibility and adaptability Humility - not being afraid to say that you don’t have all the answers - there is no monopoly on knowledge Active Listening - understanding where your teams’ minds are at, where your customers are at

ment Process, we introduced a well-being discussion, giving everyone the opportunity to express challenges.

What is the one practice you hope to start, stop, and continue as we prepare for the new normal? It is never a good idea to start something only to stop it. Much is being said about allegedly D&I being a victim of the current crisis the business world finds itself in, given the strain on

Recent reports highlight an impending mental health crisis that the world will soon walk into. What are your suggestions for leaders and the workforce at large to be prepared for what's being called a 'global psychological pandemic'? The 7 leadership traits identified for the postCOVID-19 Workplace by Dana Brownlee inspires me. • Candour - being honest • Consistent Reliable Factbased communication - we

We circulated throughout the lockdown support to help our teams cope, and to normalize the mental health aspect of this “new normal”. It’s a scary time both in and outside of work for many people, and the only way we can assist is if they say something. There’s no stigma attached to “I’m not doing well today” or “I’m struggling”. We look to rally around anyone who needs it - we are very reactive in this sense. We have also taken many proactive steps for mental health conversations. In our Performance and Develop-

I N TERVIEW

We, at IDA, are focused on being as flexible as possible to allow for breakfast time with the kids or running to the chemist for a cocooning parent. We trust our people to get the work done company balance sheets. I have never considered the focus on D&I in my organization as a ‘nice-to-have’, for me, it is a ‘must-have’ and it will always remain so. There will not be a shift in focus away from D&I in IDA Ireland in times of the new normal. As I have alluded to earlier, many events that we would usually host in-person have now changed shape and adapted to be delivered online. This is a format we will continue going forward and we will hold more virtual events involving participation by colleagues based across the globe. AUGUST 2020 |

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Moin Qazi

Building resilience in COVID-19 times

T h e N e w W o r k p l ac e

Although we cannot control the challenging and alarming environment of today, we can adapt to the situation and strengthen ourselves to cope better with the adversity that comes our way

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he COVID-19 pandemic is a human tragedy of potentially biblical proportion and has convulsed societies like never before. Tragically, it has also revealed one particularly shocking thing about our societies and economies: they have been operating on a very thin margin. The edifice seems so shiny: a world of silver jets stitching together gleaming cities, a globe of soaring markets

| AUGUST 2020

and industrial empires. But a couple of months into coronavirus and it’s all tottering, the jets grounded, the cities silent, and one industry after another heading for bankruptcy. However shiny our world may have seemed, it wasn’t very sturdy. Our systems and society seem to be very fragile, exploding the myths of a robust and resilient order. We have little control over our environment and the challenges that

come our way. But there is always something we can do to soften the impact: we can enhance our ability to handle crisis and cope with adversities. This ability to harness our inner strength to bounce back from setbacks and to thrive during times of challenge or change is known as resilience. Resilience strengthens the state of our mind and our ability to endure and thrive no matter what comes our way Resilience is an important tool for modern leaders in every field. Those who are actively engaged in building a healthy and just society face unique challenges that often take a deep personal toll. If you lack resilience, you will be vulnerable to stressors like burnout, breakdowns in relationships or death of a loved one. You might feel victimized, harassed, or turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse. While we know that career success can be largely


defined by hard work and luck, the ability to work through adversity should never be underestimated. It’s easy to dismiss resilience as something you’re either born with or without. But it can be built with a few simple techniques. Resilience is however not a fixed trait. It actually grows out of a set of “learnable” behaviors with results that interact to make you less vulnerable to stress. We are all resilient to varying degrees, yet everyone can become even more resilient. We are far more resilient when we are engaged and supported and motivated with and by others. Build-

ing strong, positive relationships makes us stronger, happier, more confident— and more resilient to challenge. While resilience is an essential skill for healthy childhood, adults also can boost resilience in middle age, which is often the time we need it most. Midlife can bring all kinds of highly stressful environments that don’t allow for self-reflection or self-care. Some of the qualities of middle age—a maturity of mind that gives better ability to regulate emotions and a more balanced perspective gained from life’s experiences and concern for future gener-

AUGUST 2020 |

T h e N e w W o r k p l ac e

The ability to work through adversity should never be underestimated, and resilience can be built with a few simple techniques

ations—may give older people an advantage over the young when it comes to developing resilience. Whether you can be said to be resilient or not largely depends on the way you respond as your life unfolds. If you are lucky enough to never experience any sort of adversity or any serious stressors we won’t know how resilient you are. It’s only when you’re faced with hindrances, stress, and other environmental threats that resilience, or the lack of it, can be known. Resilience won't make your problems go away, but it can give you the ability to see past them. It will help you adapt to difficult situations. When stress, adversity or trauma strikes, you will still experience anger, grief and pain, but you’ll be able to cope with it—both physically and mentally. Humans possess an extraordinary capacity for adaptation as they are endowed with a natural evolutionary heritage. They have an unprecedented proclivity to alter the ways of life. This is the reason why they have such vast cultural and behavioral diversity. Our fundamental human social, ecological and behavioral adaptability has, over time, enhanced our ability to manage the immediate world, to cushion the impact of the unpredictable, to survive

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T h e N e w W o r k p l ac e 54

novelty—all through an extraordinary ability to alter the surroundings. Anyone, anywhere, can initiate change. The guiding mantra can be: “Be the change you wish to see in the world"—which has often been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. It is nearly more than a century and a half ago that Charles Darwin propounded his theory of evolution. To quote word which many have attributed to him although without reliable confirmation, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Darwin’s insights into the process of evolution have a direct bearing on the phenomenon of human adaptation that we are talking of, although not in a narrow physical or biological way. Alvin Toffler also cautions with a similar refrain: “The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Adaptability is the only way to ensure the survival of an organism. The assumption that human beings are very special because they have the power, intellect and will to survive in the most trying of circumstances doesn’t stand scrutiny as we have found that life not | AUGUST 2020

only survives but thrives in conditions in which human beings cannot possibly survive. How strange it is that the little cockroaches outlived the mighty dinosaurs. Animals learn to adapt and also evolve to cope with the changing environment. Photosynthesis is something natural for the survival of some organisms. But at deep fathomless levels of oceans where there is no sunlight organisms continue to thrive. These are microbial life forms surviving for millions of years, drawing sustenance from minerals and chemicals, tucked away in the

dark recesses where there is no light. What is important for us is how fast we adapt to the changes around us. Instead of dreading change, we must try to find comfort in it. Those who are deeply rooted in traditions are quite likely to be resistant to change. The traditionalists are pessimists about the future and optimists about the past. The temptation to use tradition as a cover for prejudice and conformity, accompanied by a refusal to change or stretch, manifests itself quite stubbornly because it has become our nature. Many refuse to

How do you respond as your life unfolds? That will reveal how resilient you are. And your resilience can be enhanced through your own behaviors


ity to adapt to changing situations. “Anicca,” the Pali word for impermanence, is the core of Buddhism. The entire teachings of the Buddha revolve around the fact that nothing stays the same—everything transforms. Albert Einstein emphasizes, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mindset in which it was created.” Charles Dickens wrote about a prisoner who was locked up for many years in a dungeon. After serving his sentence, he got his freedom. He was brought out from his cell into the bright daylight of the open world. This man looked all around and, after a few moments, was so uncomfortable with his newly acquired freedom that he asked to be taken back to the confines of his cell. To him, the dungeon,

the chains, and the darkness were more familiar, secure, and comfortable than accepting the change of freedom and an open world. Change happens whether we want it to or not. Some people welcome change and find ways to turn the unexpected into an opportunity for growth. Others become frightened and simply react. How we handle the inevitable changes is the key to living a life without fear.

T h e N e w W o r k p l ac e

accept that new and creative approaches to finding a solution to problems are possible. Pushed into adopting new ways, they might join hands to ensure that things don’t work. Alan Cohen advises us, “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” When we are confronted with unforeseen changes in our lives, our first response may be to either run away from them or fight them. The fear of redundancy is real for those not prepared for change. Fight or flight is an inborn survival instinct that surfaces when we feel threatened. Embracing change with our full being is the only way for us to live mindfully and meaningfully. For the majority of those of middle age, inelasticity comes not of physical muscle and sinew alone, but of mental fiber as well. Experience has its dangers: it may bring wisdom, but it may also bring stiffness and cause hardening of the mind, leading to an inelasticity, which can be crippling for the individual as well as the people around him. One of the keys to an individual’s success is the abil-

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

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Future of Work

‘COVID-19 was unprecedented, so will be the future of work’

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented economic impact on every industry around the world, and the trends it has created will shape the workplace well into the future, says Professor Venkat Venkatraman, the David J. McGrath jr. Professor of Management at Boston University By Mastufa Ahmed 56

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rofessor Venkat Venkatraman is the David J. McGrath jr. Professor of Management at Boston University Questrom School of Business. He has previously taught at MIT Sloan School and London Business School. He is the author of The Digital Matrix: New Rules for Business Transformation Through Technology, LifeTree Media (2017). He is one of the most-cited researchers in strategy and digital business and has won prizes for his research.

He has consulted and/or lectured all over the world. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

How are organizations leveraging technology to battle COVID-19 especially in the context of the workplace? I see companies leveraging technology to battle COVID-19 in the workplace in the following ways. Reimagine work. For the better part of two centuries, work happened in factories and offices. Now, compa-


geographically close-by. Universities can tap into faculty from other locations as easily as healthcare companies tapping into certified health professionals in a different location. Labor mobility and high cost of living in certain areas have prevented more seamless flow of labor. Now, I see companies truly explore and accelerate design and deployment of distributed global work. Differentiate with Family Friendly Working Conditions. Traditional working hours made sense when humans needed to be at fixed locations to supervise others and manage factories and other physical resources. Working-from-home has allowed workers more flexibility and this has benefited dual-career workers as well as those that had to deliver family support. Without the

constraints of being at work for fixed period of time, companies can now be seen as ‘family-friendly’ without sacrificing productivity. Experiment with NextGeneration Tools. We have also seen how the current productivity tools are woefully inadequate. Companies are working to develop next-generation tools for personal productivity and collaboration within and across organizations. And some companies are beginning to look seriously at how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be incorporated so that we are not simply overlaying the tools on old ways of working but using this crisis as the trigger for redesigning work with new tools.

It's a changed world. Isn't it? Cost-cutting, retrenchments, job losses are now the reality facing businesses and employees across the

Future of Work

nies have stepped up to reimagine work in a more distributed manner. The last three months have been a massive set of experiments to test out the limits of work carried out away from offices and in some cases even factories or oil rigs or transportation networks. We will see the results of such experiments over the course of the next year. True, some complex operations require big machineries and systems but even in those cases—such as pharma R&D or oil & gas—companies are now thinking how best to carry out the activities remotely. In healthcare, for example. COVID-19 has accelerated tele-health and remote visits for non-serious appointments. Expand the Talent Base. As a direct outcome of #1 above, companies can tap into workers that are not

Will the new workplace be designed around the need for collaboration and social interactions rather than cubicles that could be replicated at home? AUGUST 2020 |

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Future of Work 58

world. How do you see the economic impact of the pandemic? The economic impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented. There’s no other way to put it. Any comparison to prior events—The Great Depression, WWII, 9/11 or the 2008 Financial Crisis—misses the point completely. This is unprecedented in scale, scope and speed. It’s global in scale—hardly any part of the global economy is unaffected. Its scope is deep and wide—pretty much everyone is affected across sectors and demography and for longer

periods. And what’s particularly interesting is the speed at which these changes have happened—a matter of months, not years like with previous crises. Certain sectors are more challenged as we see WFH showing much better productivity than feared. Travel and tourism will be affected quite a bit because the clientele’s demographics (elderly, affluent) are particularly high-risk and they may be risk averse to travel with uncertainties associated to health and border closings. Sports—that has long relied

The last three months have been a massive set of experiments to test out the limits of work carried out away from offices and in some cases even factories or oil rigs or transportation networks

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on massive attendance in stadiums—will need to be reinvented for the digital fan. Retail moves to hybrid even faster than ever imagined. And, then, there’s my own sector—education— where campuses with high density of students need to reinvent the future of education both on and off campus.

What's your take on the new workplace that is in the making and set to surface slowly as we come out of COVID-19? I see several trends converging to create the new workplace. One—every organization wants their workspace to be safe, inclusive and productive. But how to achieve this in the immediate two-year horizon? Two—professional productivity hasn’t dropped off as much as feared. At the same time, not all professions can work from home. How do you make WFH productive if you need expensive equipment in healthcare or software or energy or financial services? Three—some workers are quite happy working from home and take advantage of the flexibility to better make their worklife balance work. Will the new workplace be designed around the need for collaboration and social interactions rather than cubicles that could be replicated at home? One study recently pegged that the


What's your advice for leaders trying to adapt to the ‘New Normal’ in the Post-COVID-19 era? My main advice is to mobilize the organization to recognize that we are not going back to the old normal. I tell executives to use this crisis as an inflexion point to reflect on: (1) what should we stop doing? (2) what should we keep doing and stay the course as before? and (3) what should we start doing that we didn’t do before?” This ‘stop-staystart’ assessment questions those tightly held “sacred cows” and lets them go in favor of embracing new experiments and innovations that take advantage of impressive developments in digital technologies. This is the time to design the new

way of work. Treat digital technologies as a tailwind to get to the next, new normal and not just wish that we could go back to the old normal.

How should leaders across organizations respond in the postCOVID-19 world? This is the leadership test for this generation of managers. The CEOs of the future will arise from the ranks of leaders that have stepped up to this challenge and defined the transformation logic for the postCOVID-19 world. I believe that the leaders should respond in three stages. Stage 1 is about restart. What’s your value proposition to customers, employees, suppliers, partners, community and shareholders going forward? Is your message one of forging

ahead to the next normal or resetting back to the old normal? I hope it’s about the future. Stage 2 is about redesigning the foundations for the revised business and organizational models. If you are Airbnb or Uber, how will you pivot and adapt? If you are Raffles Hotels or OCBC, what’s your new value proposition and how have you changed because of the crisis? Stage 3 is about reinvention. Every crisis offers opportunity for new models and this crisis is no different. Use this crisis to reinvent your business for the end 2020s. The future is not what we thought the world would be when we rang in 2020. Restart with an eye towards redesigning to fundamentals focused on the future. Redesign with a view to reinvent for the long-term. AUGUST 2020 |

Future of Work

real-estate cost per employee in New York City is more than $15,000 per year on average. How can companies better use that money to redesign work? Facebook is giving the option for its employees to work for home and relocate if necessary. Twitter has decreed that WFH is the new norm. I believe a set of new principles of work will emerge. We may even see WeWork— or other innovators in the real-estate space—pivot to provide workspaces that complement traditional corporate buildings or campuses.

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Shekar Y

The phenomenon of WFH and beyond

The New Normal

The shift towards work from home has already thrown up various short-term benefits. Moving forward into the long term, it will have deeper implications for how jobs are defined and what is expected of the people holding them

W

FH (work from home) is the new buzzword in the corporate world and now the government of India has also joined that by looking at ‘Flexi Labour Laws’. This implies that WFH is here to stay. In fact, CFOs have already made a case on how direct and indirect cost savings can happen on account of WFH. Chief Administrative Officers have also factored in lowering their team’s head-

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count because fewer logistics issues will arise at the workplace. HR is equally excited to propose online induction and team building programs, push for the case of a better work-life balance through WFH, and also attempt improving the diversity factor on account of this change. There are serious discussions about how women will significantly benefit from WFH because they can more easily multi-task. In a nutshell, everyone has figured out the benefits of WFH and is eager to back it up with appropriate policies and processes for immediate implementation. What does WFH mean to the workforce of the future? While it is evident that people will spend less time on travel, and be more productive in their roles, it also appears that people will also strike a better balance between creative and practical urges and experience a more fulfilling engagement with their organizations. But that’s just a short-term view. When life continues beyond the immediate benefits, what does the crystal ball say about the longterm impact of WFH?


In future, two things are expected to happen

The New Normal

Firstly, WFH will be embedded in new job descriptions whereby organizations have policies and practices to tell employees which roles will be predominantly WFH and which will be done predominantly from the ‘office’. Work From Office (WFO) will be a place for research, manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation (delivery) oriented functions that require specialized equipment, environment, or infrastructure. It could also mean legally or socially required places like a government’s office, bank, police stations, etc. where people have to go there physically to perform their duties. Thus, jobs in future will be classified as WFO or WFH.

For WFH jobs, candidates, besides having requisite skills for the job, must also have access to good bandwidth connectivity and a private space called the home office. Ideally, this should be noise-free and access-controlled— children should not be able to come and go from the room, for example. Do recall the stereotypical job description of a traveling salesman: ‘those with two-wheelers, preferred!’ As a result, the real estate industry will see an eruption of studio homes: homes that double up as an office with studio-like features of soundproof walls, well equipped with devices and digital connectivity, which enables collaborative functioning. The other demand will be

WFH will make jobs mobile and people stationary. With geographical constraints becoming irrelevant, opportunities will go global and so will competition for jobs

AUGUST 2020 |

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The New Normal 62

that there needs to be as many studio rooms as there are people in the house! Sounds absurd? Well, if families had multiple cars and several drivers for the WFO culture, for WFH they will need multiple personalized spaces as children’s schooling too will be from home and elderly parents will need their own spaces for entertainment and care. In the short term, studio homes will cause a disturbance called ‘social entropy’. Families will be living together under one roof but have their preferred visiting and socializing hours. Family members will plan to meet over meals and get-togethers unless the ‘anytime boss’ call’ gets into

their schedules. Although WFH will appear chaotic and daunting initially, the persevering human skills and sophistication of technologies will ease everyone into a new format of co-learning, co-working, and co-living. What was a feature of the past—people traveling on account of work—fuelled demand for the aviation, hospitality, personal transportation and shopping industries. Further, jobs involving travel were also considered aspirational. WFH will change all these perceptions and also disrupt the fortunes of those few industries associated with traveling for work.

Although WFH will appear chaotic and daunting initially, the persevering human skills and sophistication of technologies will ease everyone into a new format of co-learning, co-working, and co-living

WFH will make jobs mobile and people stationary. Hitherto, jobseekers—nomads, migrants, and business travelers—migrated or temporarily shifted to work in roles that were important to them. However, after WFH, jobs will come to people, wherever they are. Collaborative and realtime technologies will become superior for providing professional experience. For a company, this means it can seek qualified resources from anywhere in the world. Why shouldn’t someone, with requisite competence, living in Estonia apply for a job that was published in India? With geographical constraints becoming irrelevant, opportunities will go global and so will competition for jobs. WFH is not just about interacting with people to complete a task remotely. It is also not

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The second feature has a bigger impact


The underlying phenomenon is that jobs will become mobile. The resource pool for any job will become global. This will create imbalances in the jobs market and people will be expected to have more skills than what is normally specified in the job description The New Normal

limited to appreciating how different functions collaborate in the launch of a new product or service an important client by staying physically distant. The underlying phenomenon is that jobs will become mobile. The resource pool for any job will become global. This will create imbalances in the jobs market and people will be expected to have more skills than what is normally specified in the job description. Global roles require people to work through differences in languages, cultures, habits, beliefs, and biases. Engaging with those people who do not WFH, will be a complex affair. In a global, collaborative workforce, team members need to be sensitive to the methods, styles and show deeper understanding to fellow members. One needs to accept emotions and logic which may be different and

divergent to one’s anticipation. Roles in the future are going to be a complex mix of soft and technical skills, required from the entry-level to the highest in the hierarchy. In some sense WFH roles will appear similar to the global helpdesk call center jobs where Janardhan with an accent becomes John at the workplace, conversing effectively with his global client to help her find her credit card’s password. The difference is that Janardhan in future, will still speak and look like Janardhan, but will have the capabilities to feel and conceptualize solutions for complex business problems, and act as a dependable and responsible global team member from his desk at home!

Dr. Y. Shekar has over 3 decades of experience in IT industry and researches in the area of managerial and leadership roles in the digital era. He currently heads the Centre for Digital Enterprise at IIM Udaipur which offers a 1-year MBA in Digital Enterprise Management. AUGUST 2020 |

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I N TERVIEW

‘Embrace the new normal or be left in the dust’

The technological shift prompted by COVID-19 has led to entirely new classes of business opportunities and threats. There is much for both companies and individuals to adapt to. Michael Simpson, CEO and Founder of PAIRIN, shares some thoughts By Mastufa Ahmed

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ichael Simpson is the CEO and Founder of equitable hiring social enterprise, PAIRIN. He is a son of educators whose passion for helping people reach their potential was fueled by his own rise from poverty to international recognition as a market strategist. He | AUGUST 2020

co-founded PAIRIN after over a decade as a certified coach, and spending six years living in Russia coaching many at-risk young adults to successful careers. As the CEO of PAIRIN, Michael works to bridge the opportunity gap for future generations by enabling educators and employers to predict and develop behav-

ioral performance. He’s had the privilege of partnering with organizations like the U.S. Department of Labor, the Center for Data Science and Public Policy, the VA, post-secondary institutions and many workforce readiness programs. Michael serves as co-chair of the Denver Metro Tech Partnership and is a member of the


Colorado Succeeds advisory board. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

ibly easy to modify, because they are structurally not able to create new procurements as this cycle repeats.

What kind of technological pressures do you see companies facing in the post-COVID-19 world? How can businesses adapt? Many businesses are wishfully waiting for things to get back to a normal that may never arrive. Businesses that have not enthusiastically embraced—in technology, culture and process—this new era of working from home, less commercial real estate, accepting and resourcing their staff ’s work choices, plus hiring people, training staff, acquiring companies, and selling and partnering remotely, will be left in the dust. If you didn’t do the work of building a strong culture, you will struggle to do that online. And what

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What technologies do you see as most central to helping economies and individual companies recover after COVID-19? Recovering from COVID19 and boosting the economy primarily means getting people back to work and dealing with the cycle of job shifting that will exist for years. For example, Marriott laid off 150,000 people because nobody was traveling. At the same time Amazon hired 100,000 people because everyone was updating their homes and ordering their groceries for delivery. Since 37 percent of people surveyed by Strada Education said that if they lost their job they’d change

careers, what happens when Amazon no longer needs most of those 100,000 new people and Marriott can’t rehire all 150,000 because many of them are moving into new careers? The cycle of people moving across industries, along with the associated reskilling, is becoming more common, facilitated by more easily available online training and an increasing resistance to on-campus degrees. So the key technologies will be those that simplify access to the wraparound government services people need during a transition, those that assess transferable skills and tech that connects people to training and jobs. As government entities respond, the technologies they choose must be fast to deploy and incred-

The cycle of people moving across industries, along with the associated reskilling, is becoming more common. What then are the key technologies? AUGUST 2020 |

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usually the slowest to evolve from manual, face to face processes to online, and then those systems often appear to be provided by the lowest bidder in an archaic procurement process that doesn’t encourage best of breed applications or allow for small, innovative startups to compete. They are

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about major decisions like buying a company or hiring hundreds of staff that you’ve never met before? Hopefully, this will positively impact some biases like what clothes someone wears to an interview, but it will likely create new biases like what’s in your video background on Zoom,

Don't just wishfully wait for things to get back to a normal that may never arrive. Embrace the new era, or be left behind or how fast your Internet might be. An entirely new class of technology that businesses are suddenly dependent upon will lead to a new class of threats, and with some lag, a new class of identity and security management. Government services are 66

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now forced to evolve, but how long will that take?

COVID-19 seems to be accelerating digital transformation in the workplace across industries. How are businesses fast-tracking their digital agenda amid this crisis?

Companies transitioning to remote workforces have accelerated digital transformation faster than ever before. It’s apparent how important technology is and will remain for companies in all industries around the world. At PAIRIN we’ve fasttracked our digital agenda internally by putting processes in place to stay in touch with employees, collaborate virtually, and keep productivity high. We’ve also realized that our customers are working to fast-track their digital agendas so we’ve hired new engineers and product managers for our team to help service the technology needs of our customers and their workforce programs as well. To help accelerate even faster, we’ve also seen an increasing amount of interest in partnerships and vendor solutions. Companies just can’t do this kind of work, at this scale, alone.

How do you see the future of remote work? Remote work is here to stay. At PAIRIN, we have remained very transparent with our employees and in constant communication to gauge their feelings around working from home. Even though our employees love our office environment, they have been quite clear that until going to the office


create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Remote working provides more flexibility for people who have kids, people who are working additional jobs or going to school on the side, and people who don’t have access to transportation to take them to an office every day. By opening up employ-

We changed that mid-quarantine. Instead of hiring remote “teams” in a couple of years to enable a local culture with travel between sites, we hired our first fully remote individual employee a month ago who actually lives on an island off the coast of South Carolina. Talk about remote! Given the current state of business, our policy of not hiring remote workers became moot. This shift in the workforce also presents a great opportunity to change hiring and

ment opportunities to more people, you are creating more diverse and therefore better work environments for all.

While more businesses are turning to tech to battle COVID-19, according to research, global IT spend will shrink 8 percent in 2020. How do you see this? Many companies cannot imagine doing a national or worldwide implementation of a multimillion dollar system from their kitchen table. Eventually,

Companies transitioning to remote workforces have accelerated digital transformation faster than ever before. It’s apparent how important technology is and will remain for companies in all industries around the world they will have to figure that out, but it won’t be soon. Every process created for implementing large IT projects must be rethought and retooled before those projects can go forward. How many companies are choosing to just put those projects on hold and wait for more normal times, and how many are just eliminating projects? If it’s only an 8 percent reduction this year, I imagine most are just put on hold. AUGUST 2020 |

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isn’t “weird” with extra processes, they prefer to stay home. I have several CEO friends that have changed their minds about remote employees. We had a plan to not hire remote teams until we were twice our current size, because we wanted a strong foundational culture.

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As we slowly come out of the pandemic, business leaders should start redesigning performance and reward structures that drive right employee behaviors in the remote working world By Mastufa Ahmed

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of firms have made, or are planning to make, significant changes to their benefit programs as a result of COVID-19. Organizations must recognize they can’t simply return to pre-pandemic reward assumptions. Before making any substantive changes to the compensation plan, they need to evaluate and be empathetic to the scale of the challenges their workforce is facing. So as lockdown and the pandemic slowly ease, how should businesses go about streamlining the new performance and rewards framework? There are several questions they need to find answers to. Which performance metrics will now determine compensation? What should they keep in mind while revising the performance framework for their remote employees? How do you ensure employee engagement when most of the employees are working remotely? The cover story of the August issue attempts to find answers to all these questions and help businesses make the right decisions as they move toward the new normal.

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usinesses globally were in a turmoil when the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading its wings throughout the world. They faced unprecedented challenges to adapt to the changing environment. Employers’ top priority became employees’ safety and business continuity. And among several other factors, productivity and performance took a backseat for a while. But now, as we slowly move toward the post-pandemic world, the business and HR leaders are looking to reset workplace and people policies in the new reality of work. Businesses are increasingly realizing the dire need to focus on employees’ feelings and state of mind to ensure productivity during this tough time. When almost everyone is working remotely, it becomes crucial to ensure that the right talent is retained and engaged and that they follow the most relevant performance management framework. This is also the time to step back and revisit rewards strategies. A recent Willis Towers Watson survey found 42 percent

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Companies that succeed amid COVID-19 will be those that prioritize people: Walmart’s Donna Morris We will do whatever is required to empower our people – and that might mean making changes to our systems, among other efforts such as investing in workforce training and education, says the Chief People Officer of the retail giant, in an exclusive interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

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s we slowly get back to work alongside the pandemic, organizations while working hard to take care of their employees’ safety and well-being, are also realizing that this is the time to focus on employee productivity as they continue to adapt to the changing times. We caught up with the Chief People Officer of Walmart, Donna Morris to find out how they are battling the pandemic, managing the performance of their employees, and rewarding them. Donna Morris is Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer for Walmart. A member of the executive committee, Donna is responsible for attracting, retaining and developing talent for one of the world’s largest private employers. Donna has nearly 20 years of leadership experience in delivering innovative people solutions, developing and managing teams that operate in an agile way, and helping to build a high-performance culture

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that promotes diversity and inclusion. Donna joined Walmart from Adobe, where she served as Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President of employee experience. Donna joined Adobe in 2002 and most recently led all aspects of the company’s human resources, real estate and security operations. She also serves on the board of directors of Marvell Technology. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

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We have an obligation to empower our teams to lead, to be inclusive, to innovate, and to learn and that is what we need to guide us into the next generation of retail. At the end of the day, we want to attract and retain the best of the best, and our strategies should support and reflect that

How has the impact of COVID-19 been on the retail industry? How are you

adapting to the changing times and embracing the new normal? What are your focus areas? Change is normal for Walmart. Our founder, Sam Walton, believed in creating a culture of change at Walmart and knew that it would give us a competitive edge. When we come to a crossroads, we remember that. What this year’s challenges have done is push us to accelerate – as a company and a society. We’ve made changes – many of them tech-related – in the past couple months that we had put off for one reason or another. But, as we’ve changed how we work, our mindset has shifted and we haven’t focused so much on perfection before implementation. There’s something good to be said for trying new things, iterating as you go, and moving with speed.

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How has Walmart responded to the COVID19 pandemic to ensure employee safety, managing relationships with clients, collaboration with industry leaders and internal workforce management?

The global health crisis has been top of mind for us since the beginning of this year when our stores in China first responded. Since then, we’ve taken a number of steps to keep our people safe, including changing our store hours, installing sneeze guards and social distance markers in all stores, using new spray kits to sanitize carts, taking associate temperatures, and requiring that associates wear masks. We also donated parking lot space for test sites, PPE and supplies to hospitals, and food to those in need. In these unprecedented times, we’re fortunate to be able to use our size and resources to do good for our associates, customers, and communities.

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To what extent has the outbreak of COVID-19 accelerated the shift toward digital transformation? What are some of your latest measure in terms of business continuity and digital innovations? We’ve been going through a digital transformation for many years now, and that’s proved more important than ever this year. Customers changed how they shop almost overnight, and it’s likely that won’t change in the future. Those who might have been hesitant to try pickup or delivery are using those services now – and they’re finding how easy it is. Moving forward, we’ll continue to listen to our customers, and we’ll keep adjusting and improving based on how they want to be served. How do you see the performance management and rewards systems landscape across organizations amid this COVID-19 pandemic? As with everything this year, the way companies approach these subjects will no doubt change. For us, these are outcomes of our work to make Walmart the place to be. We need to establish an approach that centers on growing careers and investing in our people. That means focusing on empowerment, development and internal movement, so that | AUGUST 2020

everyone has an opportunity for great success here. We’ll do whatever makes sense to get us there – and that might mean making changes to these systems, among other efforts such as investing in workforce training and education.

tomorrow, so that our business is still thriving long after we’re gone. We have an obligation to empower our teams to lead, to be inclusive, to innovate, and to learn. To drive the digital transformation that’s needed to guide us into the next generation

To show our appreciation for the exceptional work of our employees, we’ve given a series of bonuses over the past few months, which totaled more than $900 million. We’re focused on recognizing hard work, giving credit where credit’s due, and rewarding our teams – it’s the right thing to do What are the new elements and metrics HR and business leaders should keep in mind while streamlining the new performance management and rewards strategies? What’s Walmart’s strategy? I think we should all ask ourselves how well we’re preparing the leaders of

of retail, we need phenomenal associates that have the opportunity to grow within the company. At the end of the day, we want to attract and retain the best of the best, and our strategies should support and reflect that.

Remote working became the new normal during the


What have you learned from your employees in terms of their performance assessment and rewards expectations? Do you see a change in terms of their expectation on how the company will reward them? While there is still much left to discuss and learn, we can all agree that the work our associates are

expectation management in current WFH times? Communication is so important right now. Those of us working from home right now don’t get the casual interactions that we would have in the office. We’re encouraging everyone to make time to create and collaborate as a team – to have those casual chats. Make it fun and remember that it doesn’t have to be all business.

doing every day is nothing short of extraordinary. They’ve worked tirelessly through some of the busiest and most challenging months in the history of our company and they’ve served their communities when they needed it most. To reward them and show our appreciation for this exceptional work, we’ve given a series of bonuses

What are your top priorities as you go ahead amid this pandemic? How do you envision the future of the retail industry given that the pandemic is still fledging its wings across several countries? I came to Walmart at the beginning of this year with a simple goal: to help make Walmart the best company in the world to work for. I couldn’t have imagined how tumultuous my first few months would be, but I’ve been heartened by how our company has responded – from our leadership to our frontline workers, all taking care of our communities and each other. As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, taking care of our people is at the top of our priorities. The retail industry has always been competitive and fluid. Companies that succeed in this environment will be the ones that prioritize their people, and we’ll continue to do just that. AUGUST 2020 |

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As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, taking care of our people is at the top of our priorities. The retail industry has always been competitive and fluid. CompaWhat should be the differ- nies that succeed in this environentiating factors in these times when almost everyment will be the one is contributing to his/ ones that prioritize her best and apprehensions, their people, and confusion and anxiety we’ll continue to are all around? How to do do just that

over the past few months, which totaled more than $900 million. As a company, we’re focused on recognizing hard work, giving credit where credit’s due, and rewarding our teams – it’s the right thing to do, and I wish I could thank all 2.2 million of our associates individually.

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pandemic lockdown. How are you embracing remote work and empowering your workers to come to speed with their productivity? There isn’t a one-size-fitsall method to working from home. We understand that it’s been quite an adjustment – one that many people have never experienced before. Some of us are balancing work, kids and school, and it can be tiring. We don’t have commutes now, so many of us naturally end up logging in earlier and logging off later than before. On the other hand, others are thriving in this environment. As individuals, we need to make sure that we’re creating our own boundaries. Find what works best for you.

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We focus on self-authored objectives aligned with organizational goals: Novartis’ CPO

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Steven Baert, the Chief People & Organization Officer of Novartis, talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare industry, how the company is adapting to the new normal including how they are managing the performance of their employees and rewarding them amid this crisis, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

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he new working model amid the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing organizations to rethink the rewards and well-being of employees. But how are top organizations doing it? What strategies and frameworks are they using to assess employees’ performance? To find out more about this, we have an interaction with | AUGUST 2020

Steven Baert, who is the Chief People & Organization Officer of Novartis. Baert joined Novartis in 2006 as Head of Human Resources Global Functions in Switzerland and served in this role until 2008. He has held other leadership positions at Novartis, including Head of Human Resources for Emerging Growth

Markets within Novartis Pharmaceuticals from 2008 to 2009; Head of Human Resources for the United States and Canada within Novartis Pharmaceuticals from 2009 to 2012; and Global Head of Human Resources for Novartis Oncology from 2012 to 2014. Prior to joining Novartis, he held HR positions at Bristol-Myers


Squibb Co. and Unilever. Baert serves on the board of WeSeeHope charity USA, and from 2015 to 2018, he represented Novartis on the board of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Holdings Ltd. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

keeping prices stable. At the same time, we continue to advance our clinical research in the fight against COVID-19. Finally, we have made significant contributions – upwards of USD 40 million – to over 60 projects around the world that support local communities impacted by the crisis.

Is COVID-19 accelerating innovation opportunities for the healthcare industry? What are the top priorities of Novartis right now?

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During this current pandemic, the things employees need most are connectivity and clarity. The performance management approach we plan to implement centers around frequent check-ins, having regular conversations on a human level recognizing that all of us are dealing with significant changes

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How do you see the impact of coronavirus pandemic on the healthcare sector? I’m extremely proud of the way Novartis has mobilized on multiple fronts to support the global pandemic response at this time of crisis, including leveraging our R&D capabilities, clinical trial expertise, and philanthropic aid. The pandemic has spurred an unprecedented level of collaboration across the pharmaceutical industry, with businesses using their collective innovation power and global footprint to work toward ending the pandemic as quickly as possible. Novartis is playing a leading role in these efforts, for example through our collaboration with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a consortium of life sciences companies to accelerate the development, manufacture, and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments. We are also working with researchers at The University of California, Berkeley,

and other pharmaceutical companies to study antiviral compounds that may help to suppress future coronavirus outbreaks. We continue to support the wider public health response to the crisis, including by pledging to donate millions of doses of our medicines to enable patients to access a potential treatment and responding to increased demand for essential medicines like antibiotics and respiratory treatments by expanding production capacity and

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This is an unprecedented time for our business and for the world. The COVID19 pandemic is affecting the health and well-being of millions of people, sadly taking many lives too soon, and damaging healthcare systems, economies, and livelihoods. In these challenging times, the importance and urgency of the Novartis purpose - to reimagine medicine to improve and extend people’s lives - has come into sharp focus. We continue to provide value to associates, patients, healthcare systems, and communities while ensuring business continuity and advancing a comprehensive set of efforts to support the global pandemic response. Finding innovative solutions to the world’s biggest healthcare

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challenges is what we do best. For us at Novartis, this is a moment that matters to demonstrate our culture of curiosity, inspired by our purpose, with the conviction that unbossed teams will find solutions to new challenges. Millions of people depend on our lifesaving medicines and we are balancing the need to get these medicines to them while also protecting the health and well-being of our people. That’s why we’ve implemented a range of measures to support our associates and their families as they adapt to new ways of working and family commitments. Our progress in cultural and digital transformation at Novartis over the last few years has helped us

enormously in responding successfully to the crisis. Our ‘unbossed’ leadership style enabled associates to react quickly in shaping their new work environment. Our people embraced new ways of working with healthcare professionals, patients, and each other, and we used digital tools to limit disruption. Our field-based associates are equipped to serve customers 100% virtually and in our clinical trials, we have achieved more than 10,000 remote monitoring patient visits.

Do you think performance management and reward systems across organizations should change amid this crisis? During this current pandemic, the things employees need most are connectivity and clarity. A performance management approach like the one we plan to implement, centered around frequent check-ins, will help us maintain that sense of connection and also allow conversations on a human level recognizing that all of us are dealing with significant changes. This is also an opportunity for managers to assess where their people most need support and to revisit objectives or goals that might need to be adjusted in light of COVID-19. In terms of rewards, we need


How should talent leaders go about redesigning performance and rewards framework to adapt to the changing times? We have found performance management is more effective when the numerical rating is removed and the

focus is on other elements. We have conducted experiments involving ~16,000 associates, across 8 countries and 7 business units where we removed the rating and concentrated on 1) self-authored objectives aligned with organizational goals 2) Frequent check-ins and feedback both between employees and managers and within teams 3) Ongoing and timely recognition for important moments both inside and outside of work

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to think holistically and continue to recognize and reward our people who are working towards our priorities and to further our purpose.

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This is the time and opportunity for managers to assess where their people most need support and to revisit objectives or goals that might need to be adjusted in light of COVID-19. In terms of rewards, we need to think holistically and continue to recognize and reward our people who are working towards our priorities and to further our purpose

and 4) reward for collective and personal impact as opposed to just completing tasks. Getting these four elements right is the key ingredient to a successful performance management strategy. In terms of assessing employees on functional responsibilities alone during the pandemic, this is an interesting question. I think we have switched to a virtual world very well and of course, we have to remain flexible and consider how the crisis affects different employee segments (i.e. those who can work remotely and those, in labs or manufacturing, who can’t, as well as those working in the field who must adapt how they engage with our healthcare providers). Novartis fully recognizes that there may be a need to consider the impact that this could have on agreed objectives. Managers are encouraged to conduct regular check-ins with their team members to provide an opportunity to review and revise objectives and timelines as needed.

How are you embracing remote work and mitigating some of the risks of COVID-19 for the welfare of your employees? The last few months have demonstrated in AUGUST 2020 |

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ways we could never have foreseen the true value of our Inspired, Curious, and Unbossed culture. Our shared purpose to keep on delivering lifesaving medicine to our patients has inspired us to overcome significant challenges together. Our curiosity and willingness to learn have enabled us to pivot and adapt to new ways of working. I want to emphasize how proud I am of all of our Novartis associates for the care, resilience, and

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the ongoing digital and cultural transformation at Novartis. It showed that our people are most creative and productive when leaders are ‘unbossed’ positivity they have shown one another during these difficult times and their outstanding commitment to continue the vital work of delivering life-saving medicine to our patients. In turn, it’s our role as a company to care for our people and help them support their loved ones as they adapt to new ways of working and juggle family and childcare commitments. We’ve put multiple measures in place to support our people, including additional paid days off, enhanced childcare, extending our online learning resources

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to family members, expanding our mental health resources and even providing free access for associates and family members to our Tignum X app, which provides advice, strategies, and support in areas like nutrition, movement, mindset, and recovery. The global pandemic has accelerated the need to revisit our working models. There is no going back to the pre-pandemic “normal”, and our associates have expressed a desire for greater flexibility in how,

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where, and when they work. We have therefore begun to implement a future working model that combines more choice with responsibility – a natural evolution of our culture transformation as we further unboss our associates to optimize individual and business impact. This will be a multi-year journey and we will continue to gather data and insights from our associates, experiment and evolve.

Do you see a change in terms of employees’ expectations of how the company will reward them?

Employees want realtime feedback, we live in a world where advice and opinions are readily given in our private lives, and this is becoming expected in our professional lives. It is important to keep the lines of communication between employee and manager open, allowing for the exchange of ideas and information. As we have seen with COVID-19, there are circumstances that we cannot plan for in advance and our performance management approach needs to account for that -employees want to be able to continuously reassess priorities and objectives. We have also found that self-authored objectives that are in line with our priorities are important. People are more invested in the goals they set for themselves. Empowerment and trust of individuals and teams are also motivating. Our employees have expressed the wish for a boss that acts as a “coach” than a traditional manager. People like having a certain degree of leeway to accomplish their goals by their own means and have their manager guide and advise, but not instruct them. From our experiments, we have learned that while increasing the emphasis


on team performance and recognition is important, it is also critical to have some level of differentiation at an individual level for those who create an exceptional impact in the organization. Associates are also looking for more choices in terms of reward and recognition. So, while the monetary reward is still important, acknowledgment

tists around the globe are racing to find therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19. It is vitally important that we follow the science in these efforts: Only data-driven scientific trials will answer the question of which therapies are beneficial in treating

most creative and productive when leaders are ‘unbossed’. Another key learning from the crisis is how the digital preparedness of healthcare systems has influenced their ability to respond. We can seize the opportunity of this crisis to pinpoint where technol-

patients with the disease. In the near future, we face the possibility of a different kind of health crisis: the impact of a sharp reduction in visits to hospitals and clinics for almost every disease area unrelated to COVID-19. As the immediate crisis subsides, our most urgent focus is on getting patients safely back to the care they need. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the ongoing digital and cultural transformation at Novartis. It showed that our people are

ogy can help healthcare systems be better prepared to predict, prevent, respond, and recover from future health crises. I am optimistic. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that not only do we live in an era of unparalleled scientific capabilities, but human resilience and capacity to innovate is remarkable. When we listen to one another and partner, we can overcome obstacles, learn in the process, and above all, come out stronger. AUGUST 2020 |

What are your future plans as you go ahead amid this pandemic and how do you envision the future of healthcare as we come out of this COVID-19 crisis? As the immediate crisis subsides, we are entering a ‘new normal’ phase of the pandemic marked by deep uncertainty. The pharmaceutical industry and scien-

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for their contribution is also key. Our colleague recognition scheme allows for peer to peer, team, and individual recognition.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that not only do we live in an era of unparalleled scientific capabilities, but human resilience and capacity to innovate is remarkable

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Employee assessments must be based on reasonable performance expectations: Head, HR, HSBC Singapore COVID-19 may have a significant impact on our financial results and our variable pay is awarded on a discretionary basis taking into account ‘what’ has been achieved and ‘how’, says Brandon Coate, the Head of Human Resources for HSBC Singapore, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

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s we move toward the post-pandemic world, business and talent leaders are looking to reset the workplace and people policies in the new reality of work. Businesses are increasingly realizing the need to focus on employees’ well-being while ensuring productivity during this tough time. We caught up with Brandon Coate who is the Head of Human Resources for HSBC Singapore to find out how they are adapting to the new normal and realigning the performance and rewards strategies. Brandon joined HSBC Singapore in April 2019 and has responsibility for the delivery of HSBC’s People Strategy in Singapore. Born in the US and educated in the UK, Brandon has worked for HSBC over 12 years in multiple Human Resources roles in the UK and Hong Kong. Prior to joining HSBC, Brandon started his career in consulting at Watson Wyatt and has also worked at Lehman Brothers.

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Here are the excerpts from the interview.

What are some of your latest measure in terms of business continuity and digital innovations? Do you think COVID-19 is accelerating innovation opportunities in banking? For HSBC, AI and data analytics are part of our Singapore strategy to focus on Investing in digital capabilities and building the ‘Bank of the Future’ for our customers. Since January this year, we have seen self-directed investments into equities, unit trusts and forex continue to trend upwards. Since the launch of our mobile banking app

in June 2019, the number of customer logins to the HSBC Singapore app has outpaced those who use our online banking platform by more than twice. We have also streamlined processes and platforms to improve operational efficiency and customer experience by implementing thirty remote servicing processes as well as digital wealth solutions. To ensure that our employees keep pace with our digital transformation, we have also implemented a Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) industry initiative that looks to up-skill individuals for AUGUST 2020 |

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It is important for employees to stay connected with their managerS and colleagues through open, frequent, and meaningful conversations throughout the year, to support their own performance, development, and well-being

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How has the impact of COVID-19 been on the banking industry? How are you adapting to the changing times and embracing the new normal? COVID-19 has accelerated already existing pre-pandemic trends in the banking industry. For example, online banking was on the rise in recent years, but it became absolutely necessary for many of our customers in the past few weeks. Similarly for policies like working from home – HSBC already had the infrastructure and policies in place, but most people have only really embraced remote working in recent months. HSBC Singapore has set out its ways of working principles. HSBC has well-established policies, technology, and management support to enable and empower employees to work from home. During the peak of the circuit breaker phase in April, we had 87 percent of our employees working from home. HSBC is actively participating in the Return to Onsite Operations Taskforce (ROOT) organized by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), which focuses on the measures that will become the ‘new normal’ in offices and branches.

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banking jobs undergoing a transformation.

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How do you see the performance management and rewards systems landscape across organizations globally amid this COVID19 pandemic? It is even more important for employees to stay connected with their managers and colleagues through open, frequent, and meaningful conversations throughout the year, to support their own performance, development, and well-being. Organizations must remain committed that assessments must be based on reasonable performance expectations taking into account COVID-19 and agreed by both managers and employees through these frequent, open conversations based on individual circumstances, including consideration of real-life challenges and factors that might impact employees’ performance outcomes. Clearly, COVID-19 may have a significant impact on our financial results, but it is too early to say where we will be at the end of the year. Our variable pay is awarded on a discretionary basis and is dependent upon Group, business, and individual performance taking into account both the ‘what’ has | AUGUST 2020

been achieved and ‘how’ it has been achieved. In the HSBC context, we introduced the Continuous Performance tool to support our Everyday Performance & Development (EPD) Conversation, helping managers and colleagues stay connected, collect feedback and evidence their achievements throughout the year.

duced a wellness campaign for colleagues in April to build staff engagement and connectedness during this work from home period, and create a stronger sense of community in a virtual world. The campaign involves engaging with employees through various initiatives and resources such as LinkedIn Learning sessions, virtual webi-

We at HSBC introduced the Continuous Performance tool to support our Everyday Performance & Development Conversation, helping managers and colleagues to stay connected, collect feedback, and evidence their achievements throughout the year What’s your take on how should HR and business leaders redesign the performance management and reward strategies amid this crisis? 1.Team engagement/ morale/well-being 2. Collaboration 3. Personal development/ Flexibility and Willingness to adapt new role and skill Remote working became the new normal during the pandemic lockdown. How are you embracing remote work? What are your strategies? Focus on employee’s well-being – HSBC intro-

nars by both external and internal speakers, and live workout sessions via Zoom. This wellness campaign will continue to evolve within HSBC to further engage employees both onsite and offsite as remote working becomes the new norm. We have regular townhalls and engagement sessions to obtain feedback from employees on how they are feeling including well-being surveys. We launched Telemedicine service to ensure employees could see a GP and receive medication without leaving their homes. Employee Assistance Program available to employees and dependents to provide 24/7 support.


contributed to overall service performance outcomes

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• The expectation that the organization is committed to ensure employees are not unfairly disadvantaged by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. • Recognize COVID-19 pandemic added barriers that might be hindering employees from performing the full scope of their role. • Agree actions that will help to mitigate or remove any barriers, such as adjusting objectives. • Consider the team member’s proactive behavior and attitude to supporting the wider team as their role may be momentarily less relevant but how have they supported other team members • Recognize employees’ flexibility and willingness to develop new skills and adapt to a different role and how they have

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Do you see a shift in expectations from your employees in terms of assessments and rewards? Consider the real-life challenges and factors that might impact employees’ performance outcomes. Recognize the time and effort that some employees need to invest when balancing their work and caring responsibilities. • Recognize employees’ contribution to help maintain the service and the performance and well-being of the team by taking on additional responsibilities • Recognize that employees’ core responsibilities have temporarily lost relevance due to a change in priorities. • Identify employees experiencing poor well-being or mental health, signpost them to the company’s employee assistance program.

Where do you see the banking industry five years down the line and what are your top priorities as you come out of this pandemic? The continued wellbeing of our people. We are likely going to be living with COVID-19 for some time and as we have seen in other countries it is inevitable that there will be future waves and therefore ensuring our employees’ well-being will remain our top priority. Defining the Future of the Workplace and ensuring we have robust policies to support employees who have embraced home working and would like it to remain as a long term option. Providing greater support to managers to ensure they are equipped to manage a workforce spread across the office and home working. Ensuring that despite the locations people work that there can remain collaboration and innovation. Ensure our employees are equipped with the appropriate skills that are relevant in the workplace: Change & Transformation, Agility, Creativity, Connectivity, Resilience, Customer Engagement, etc.

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We reward our people based on business results, their commitment to innovation: IBM’s Andrew Campbell There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to assessing and rewarding your top talent. It should be based on individual needs and business strategy, says Andrew Campbell, Senior Partner, Asia Pacific, IBM Talent & Transformation, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

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rganizations across the world are fighting to embrace the new normal and adapt to the changing times amid this COVID-19 crisis. Now as the lockdown easing begins in several countries, organizations are trying to revisit their performance management and rewards strategies. Andrew Campbell, Senior Partner, Asia Pacific, IBM Talent & Transformation says ‘’each organization will need to decide how best to engage, motivate, assess and reward their top talent based on their own needs and business strategy’’. Andrew leads IBM's Talent and Transformation practice in Asia-Pacific. He is an accomplished HR and Consulting Executive with strategic, global transformation experience in numerous industries, including Consumer Packaged Goods, Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals, Insurance, Oil & Gas, and Engineer| AUGUST 2020


ing. His cross-functional experience is complemented by practical handson experience in the HR domain and supplemented with a deep understanding of program management, change management, talent management, and HR systems technology (both ERP and Cloud). He is an energetic leader and a skilled facilitator and communicator. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

ment and communication were and still remains key. Some IBM sites have started reopening to a limited number of staff, depending on the locations. People need to feel confident that they are returning to a safe working environment, and to do that we have implemented a number of procedures including a set of global criteria for site re-opening, a readiness checklist for all our sites,

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Many organizations had already been shifting away from traditional performance management processes before the pandemic and had been looking for new ways to retain and motivate top talent. For IBM, our new approach called Checkpoint was co-created with hundreds and thousands of IBMers around the globe via an internal jam over 72 hours

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How has IBM responded to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure employee safety, managing relationships with clients, collaboration with industry leaders, and internal workforce management? The health and safety of IBMers is always our top priority. Luckily at IBM, many people are used to working remotely, and we had the infrastructure, processes, and plans in place to ensure everyone can work remotely effectively. After the cutover of our Business Continuity Plans, 95 percent of IBMers were working effectively from home and about 8000 people were performing essential work supporting our clients. All managers conducted (and still conduct) regular checkins with their employees to ensure that people were safe, healthy, and productive. Continuous engage-

and a return-to-workplace playbook with processes related to office safety, sanitization, distancing and fever screening. Ensuring business continuity for our clients was also key. As much as possible we strived to keep things “business as usual� for our clients. Our Services delivery teams took just ten days to shift to work-from-home across 60 centers globally, supporting clients across 40 AUGUST 2020 |

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countries, with zero degradation in delivery capacity or Service Level Agreements of clients’ operations. We kept payroll running for the clients that we run payroll for, we helped our clients close the books for those clients whose F&A we support, and we kept projects going live.

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The unprecedented times amid COVID-19 have put organizations in a predicament on how to deal with retention of top talent, engagement, and performance management. What's the way forward for organizations as they come out from this pandemic? In reality, there is no “one size fits all” approach – each organization will need to decide how best to engage, motivate, assess and reward their top talent based on

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their own needs and business strategy. That being said, to attract and retain talent organizations will need to offer flexible work arrangements for people and acknowledge that some people may want to continue to work remotely while some may want to work in the office, depending on their personal situation. Now more than ever, for the well-being of our employees, it is imperative to be empathetic, encourage solidarity and understanding for each other. During this period, there are four re-entry imperatives that we focus on – workforce wellbeing, working practices, work policies, and workforce planning. We are hosting activities such as Wellness Wednesday, Employee Assistance Programs, and Mindfulness Sessions for

our employees. This is sprinkled with fun events like learning Olympics, step-up challenge, virtual lunches, and coffee sessions to bring the teams together to learn, win, and to have fun. We also encourage our team to extend their reach to the local communities where we operate. For example, in Singapore, we are planning to conduct digital learning sessions for the seniors where our IBMers can volunteers as trainers under our ‘Project Giveback’ initiative. Many organizations had already been shifting away from traditional performance management processes before the pandemic and had been looking for new ways to retain and motivate top talent. For IBM, our new approach called Checkpoint was co-created with hundreds and thousands of IBMers around the globe via an internal jam over 72 hours. We not only recognize and reward our people’s accomplishments based on business results and client results but also on their commitment to innovation and upskilling – two criteria that will be critical for the future of any organization. In addition, the new approach calls on managers and employees to do regular check-ins – minimum quarterly – to provide


The leadership behavior that has come to the forefront because of the pandemic is empathy. Organizations and managers need to be sensitive to the fact that everyone in some way is facing personal and professional challenges as a result of the pandemic while working remotely, as well as the training programs and support required to use those tools. But beyond the tools, it has also been important that people remain motivated.

How to handle expectation management in the current Work from Home times? The leadership behavior that has come to the forefront because of the pandemic is empathy. Organizations and managers need to be sensitive to the fact that everyone in some way is facing personal and professional challenges as a result of the pandemic, whether it be trying to school your kids while working from home or dealing with the inability to see loved ones due to lockdown. At IBM, a group of employees came AUGUST 2020 |

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How are you empowering your remote workers to come to speed with their productivity? Because of COVID-19, much of the world’s population has entered a new social regime. It ranges from distancing ourselves to total lockdown to protect the physical health of ourselves and our communities. However, while we do this, the resulting feelings of isolation and loneliness may slowly exacerbate a different health problem: the ongoing global mental health crisis. In a study conducted by Ginger, 69 percent of employees in the U.S said that the pandemic has been the most stressful time of their entire profes-

sional careers. According to the recent IBM study, only 14 percent of employers are worried about mental health and in a roundtable of CHROs led by IBM and Josh Berlin, participants cited the wellness and mental health of employees as the number one concern they hadn’t yet determined how to address. For IBM, it is imperative that all our teams can effectively work and collaborate, and to scale the productivity despite working remotely and onsite, or a combination of both, to ensure business continuity. Many IBMers were already proficient in working remotely so the transition for many IBMers was relatively smooth. And we are fortunate to have the tools to stay productive and collaborate with our teams

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career coaching and feedback against goals.

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up with a brilliant idea the IBM Work from Home Pledge. The pledge immediately went viral and thousands of IBMers signed the pledge. The pledge essentially stated that we commit to be flexible, be familyfriendly, set boundaries, and prevent video fatigue, take care of myself, check in on others, and stay connected. One thing we learn through that during this challenging time, it is also important to have empathy, solidarity, and understanding for each other. We are keeping a close tab on employee sentiment and feedback and iterating our approach constantly.

How are you prioritizing your work that delivers the best value? How do you envision the future of the IT industry in the postpandemic world? I believe the pandemic will accelerate the digital transformation, and the tech industry will have an essential role in helping companies shape and execute their transformation agenda. I think we’ll see this manifest itself in a number of different ways: • Agile will become mainstream in the enterprise. Upskilling in Agile methodology has been popular for a number of years now, but I believe the pandemic will accelerate the use of Agile beyond the boundaries of | AUGUST 2020

IT and into the enterprise as a whole. Tech will have a critical role in helping with organizations transition to agile and will need to commit to creating tools and methodologies that enable Agile. • Data is king. Data helps make people comfortable especially in these uncertain times. And tech will play a significant role in providing systems and processes that enable data insights, as well as a critical role in enabling people to understand and make decisions with data. • Acceleration of automation, AI, and cognitive projects. Numerous organizations were caught out during the pandemic by not having enough automation or AI in place, particularly in contact centers

where the deployment of virtual agents could have significantly reduced call volumes. There are countless processes that can be automated or that can leverage AI in order to reduce the reliance on human interactions. Automation and AI should also be seen as an opportunity to upskill an organization’s people, and better prepare them for the workplace of the future. • Prioritize speed over perfection. The concept of getting to an MVP (minimum viable product) from which a company can start to derive value will become more commonplace. A number of clients have already told me they have accomplished more in three months than they have in three years.


We must act and do what is right: F. Hoffmann-La Roche’s CPO In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Cristina (Cris) A. Wilbur, Chief People Officer, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, shares her views on how healthcare companies are reacting to the pandemic and how the rewards and performance landscape is transforming in these times By Mastufa Ahmed

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COVID-19 has created an unprecedented global crisis in so many dimensions and the challenges it has and continues to present will not be easy to resolve

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ristina (Cris) A. Wilbur is Chief People Officer for F. Hoffmann-La Roche, the world’s largest biotech company, with about 98, 000 people employed in more than 100 countries. In 2002, Cris joined Roche as Director of HR at the Diagnostics US headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana (U.S.) and four years later, she was appointed North America Region Head of HR. In 2010, Cris was named Global Head of HR for the Diagnostics Division and relocated to Roche’s worldwide headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Wilbur has more than 25 years of experience in

business and People and Culture (HR), and has her educational background in Finance and Computer Engineering. She is passionate about the discovery and development of each person's potential to enable collective and sustained

organizational success, and the powerful combination of capabilities and mindset to unlock innovation and agility. In this exclusive interaction, Wilbur talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare industry, how the AUGUST 2020 |

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performance management and rewards systems landscape has changed across organizations globally amid this pandemic, and what the future of healthcare would look like as we come out of this crisis. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

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How is Roche as a multinational healthcare company helping companies and patients to combat COVID-19? COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on our industry as we are collectively working to find solutions to help patients and society fight/combat this new virus. Roche has been at the forefront of providing our test kits to our laboratory and hospital partners to check if people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and also to determine if people have produced antibodies after being infected. In addition, our pharmaceuticals division is in the midst of conducting clinical trials for potential treatments to help very ill patients recover. Do you think COVID-19 is an opportunity to accelerate innovation in healthcare? Are you changing change the way you innovate? Our company is dedicated to helping patients and delivering innovative solutions in medicines and diagnos| AUGUST 2020

tics better and faster. This pandemic has proven our deep commitment to our purpose and to the priorities we have for the safety and well-being of our people as well as to the patients and healthcare systems across the world.

The COVID-19 outbreak has sparked an unprecedented healthcare crisis. What are your major learnings in terms of how healthcare companies are reacting to the pandemic and how can the healthcare industry sail through this tough time?

tics solutions. Our people are working 24/7 to help meet the intense demands the situation presents and have immense pride in the company and the difference we are making.

How do you see the performance management and rewards systems landscape across organizations globally amid this COVID19 pandemic? Nearly three years ago, we introduced our People Practices that are built on being agile and impactful to the needs of our people and the business.

We have embedded flexibility to ensure that what people are delivering makes sense and that they are not locked in to a set of objectives or metrics that do not consider current circumstances Healthcare workers and companies fighting this pandemic have been real heroes for patients. COVID19 has created an unprecedented global crisis in so many dimensions and the challenges it has and continues to present will not be easy to resolve. Because of our purpose, our values, and our strong culture, we know we must act and do what is right. For example, we have focused efforts to ensure that we do not create barriers to accessing our medicines and diagnos-

As a result, the flexibility already in existence in our performance management could be activated immediately and with support from our technology solutions. In addition, besides our core compensation elements, we introduced several years ago, a global recognition program called Applause that has enabled people to recognize and reward, in real time, colleagues and teams for the contributions they are making in a simple yet meaningful way.


How are you embracing remote work and alleviating some of the risks of COVID19 to your business and employee welfare? We have quite a number of people working from

home. It was important for us to reassure our people that we would continue to pay them in full as we are all dealing with the ramifications of COVID-19 including school closures. We also wanted to protect our people who needed to come to the workplace because of critical business continuity activities. By limiting the number of people coming to our workplaces, we could ensure physical distancing measures were followed and reduce the risk of the virus spreading in our company.

What have you learned from your employees in terms of their performance

What are your future plans as you go ahead amid this pandemic and how do you envision the future of healthcare as we come out of this COVID-19 crisis? We know we will learn a lot as a result of this crisis. The future of healthcare will continue to demand innovative solutions and access for patients at less cost to society. This is well in line with our ambitions, and coupled with our culture and purpose, we believe we can make a big difference. AUGUST 2020 |

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Do you think it’s time to revisit the conventional metrics HR and business leaders consider for performance management and rewards? As mentioned above, we have embedded flexibility to ensure that what people are delivering makes sense and that they are not locked in to a set of objectives or metrics that do not consider current circumstances.

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When people are connected to a company's purpose, they will do what is needed to support that purpose

assessment and rewards expectations? Do you see a change in terms of their expectation of how the company will reward them? Purpose matters. When people are connected to a company's purpose, they will do what is needed to support that purpose. Our employees appreciate the support we have provided and have shared this feedback with us in a recent global pulse survey we conducted. Because this situation with COVID19 has never happened before, there is of course uncertainty. We take a lot of effort to communicate regularly with our people and to provide them channels to get the most up-todate information fast and easy.

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‘Redefining performance management strategy is key in the remote working world’ In the current environment what remains crucial to organizations is to redefine their performance management strategy that encourages the right behaviors in the remote working world, delivers on investment, and develops processes that result in desired business outcomes, says Puneet Swani, Career Business Leader, International Region, Mercer By Mastufa Ahmed

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uneet is a Senior Partner and the leader of Mercer’s Career business for the International region covering Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa & Latin America. During his more than 20 years of consulting experience, Puneet has provided advice to leading local and multinational organizations across more than 25 countries in Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa. Puneet has worked extensively in areas of talent management, HR transformation, rewards strategy, variable pay design, broad-banding, and job evaluation across industries. He has also advised organizations on HR audits, managing people issues in mergers and acquisitions, and compensation outsourcing. Puneet is an experienced facilitator and instructional designer and designs and delivers HR workshops and training for clients Before joining Mercer, he worked with another global consulting firm where he

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headed their broad-based rewards practice for South & East Asia. Puneet has also worked with ABN AMRO Bank in UAE where he was the Head of HR for their Consumer and Private Banking Business Here are the edited excerpts.

linked to three priorities returning safely i.e. setting protocols, safety policies, business continuity plans, re-examining remote, flexible and blended working; returning to stability i.e., clarifying priorities and realigning to it, cost containment, digitization of work practices, basically using transformation as an optimization strategy; returning to energy i.e. supporting the mental, physical and financial well-being of employees, reconfirming the organization's purpose and

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In light of COVID-19, some companies may be considering extensive adjustments to performance ratings to trigger bonus payouts or other pay changes. For roles like sales, which have defined goals and targets, some companies are currently reviewing adjustments to account for increased or decreased demand due to COVID-19

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How do you see the overall COVID-19 pandemic which has affected organizations across the globe? Can you share a few insights in terms of how businesses can move ahead post the pandemic? Across the globe we are seeing employers and employees settle into a new way of working, the business efforts are starting to shift from a focus on business continuity to planning for the “return to work� and eventually reinvent themselves. During this period, companies must continue to provide support for their essential and remote workforce, while managing the impact of decisions such as layoffs, furloughs, and compensation adjustments. Understanding and balancing what this new normal looks like and how to support employees as we slowly shift back to on-site work needs to be a longterm focus. The key focus for every company should be how they balance economics and empathy. We recommend focusing on issues

value, designing an energizing employee experience. Overall we are seeing that companies are alternating between - respond, return, reinvent phases, what we call, our 'Three R' mode) depending on the course of the pandemic, government responses, and the resilience of their industry & business.

What's your advice on how should organizations streamline their performance management and rewards strategies during this crisis time? AUGUST 2020 |

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In the current environment what remains crucial to organizations is to redefine their performance management strategy that encourages the right behaviors in the remote working world, delivers on investment and develops processes that result in desired business outcomes. Overall the

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Many companies are communicating to their employees that they are valued and important to the business, while also making rapid adjustments to goal setting, ratings, and rewards. In light of COVID-19, some companies may be considering extensive adjustments to performance ratings to trig-

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ger bonus payouts or other pay changes. For roles like sales and manufacturing, which have defined goals and targets, some companies are currently reviewing adjustments to account for increased or decreased demand due to COVID-19. Based on Mercer’s COVID19 survey, those companies that are planning to make changes to their incentive pay are mostly revising metrics (54%), reducing thresholds (31%), and adjusting incentive target opportunity (31%). | AUGUST 2020

long term view that organizations should keep is to deliver on the employee experience. At this time, performance management should provide: 1. Alignment to shifting business priorities 2. Prioritization of work that delivers the greatest value 3. A focus on empathy, employee engagement, and providing support for employees Aligning and engaging employees in the above

areas will help produce the desired outcome. (refer to the data points above on changing metrics). How businesses respond to the crisis today will have a lasting implication on employee behavior – their ability to attract new talent, levels of productivity and engagement, and employee commitment.

What should be the differentiating factors in these times when almost everyone is contributing to his/her best and apprehensions, confusion and anxiety are all around? How to do expectation management in current WFH times? Communicating the business priorities and set (reset) individual goals has never been more critical – just as business priorities and strategy have been upended, the employees will have been impacted both at work and at home. It is critical during this time to maintain regular contact with employees to share shifting business priorities and answer questions. While ensuring goal clarity is important for employees to understand how they connect to the overall business and make an impact, now is also the time to look more holistically at the goal-setting requirements to ensure that employee goals have a direct link to


achieving business objectives, especially if they have recently shifted. Focusing on and helping employees with Mental and Financial Wellness is going to be critical in these times as well and leading companies are already hiring specialist companies to help individuals both on the Mental wellness side as well as financial management and cash flow planning as well.

Agile rewards - In the new world, work often happens outside of the traditional work model; talent might be borrowed on a short-term assignment; goals might be delivering a return much like a startup; and team working and collaboration (not individual performance) are driving success. Here we’ve seen employees ask to share in the returns of new products being launched. And on the managers’ side, we’ve seen

Study) shows that employees want to work for companies that get to know them on a personal level and help them navigate their professional development journeys. Hence the connection continues and just the way the contribution is measured is evolving. Companies will need to align with the new rewards strategies emerging and accelerating in the new norm:

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It is critical during this time to maintain regular contact with employees to share shifting business priorities and answer questions. While ensuring goal clarity is important for employees to understand how they connect to the overall business, now is also the time to look more holistically at the goalsetting requirements to ensure that employee goals have a direct link to achieving business objectives

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Remote working became the new normal during the pandemic lockdown. What should employers keep in mind while revising the performance framework for their remote employees? Two employees in the same job, with one working from home and one from the office, will perform differently. Therefore, they should have different performance goals and metrics for remotely working employees. A few strategies that companies operating in a virtual or remote working world could pay heed to are: • Communicate and keep in contact with employees about performance and overall well-being. • Schedule regular checkins • Monitor outputs and impact to results • Conduct regular employee pulse check-ins • Ensure a strong focus on culture

Do you think employees will see their pay packets having a stronger linkage with their company's performance? How will companies ensure that? Goal clarity has always provided employees with a sense of how they connect to the overall business purpose and make an impact. Show employees how their goals originate and feed into the business’ goals. Mercer’s own research (2019 Global Performance management

managers seeking to set rewards on a shorter timeframe to recognize contribution with the ability to adapt goals as priorities shift. Pay-for-skills - A hot topic has been the move away from traditional jobs towards skills clusters. And it is no surprise this is fuelling a debate around pay-forskills. This might be about paying a premium for hot skills required in a position (i.e. be role-dependent), AUGUST 2020 |

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or this might be paying a premium for the skills possessed by the person (i.e. person-dependent). Personalized rewards - Finally, it’s not just agile working that is putting pressure on traditional and static models. In the era of the individual, there is the opportunity to involve individuals in how they want to be rewarded. This might be enabling individuals to decide how much they want at risk in their pay (being able to adapt their base and variable pay ratio, for example) according to their risk appetite. Or it might be trading pay for days’ leave and other benefits as part of a total reward strategy. Personalized rewards let people emphasize what they value – enhancing the power of this engagement lever.

Do you think the expectations of employees changed post-COVID-19 from their employers in terms of performance assessments and rewards? COVID-19 has necessitated businesses of all sizes and industries to rapidly move to a predominantly virtual workforce. With fewer day-to-day touchpoints between managers and their employees, organizations are facing the need to develop new strategies for managing performance in a virtual world. As the 96

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pandemic continues, businesses need to keep in mind that employees are not only adjusting to new ways of working, but also dealing with increasing isolation from their extended support network, a halt to their normal daily life, and in many cases an increased need to care for their families.

Industry-wide pay cuts have sent several employees 2 or 3 years behind in their financial standing. How can organizations help employees navigate these challenging times while keeping their focus on business continuity? Based on Mercer’s COVID-19 survey, 55 percent of companies have not made any changes to their salary increases due to COVID-19 yet and only 31%

of companies have either implemented salary freeze for some or all employees. We see the majority of employers in Asia Pacific are protecting their employees’ income by retaining full pay for most of their salaried and hourly paid employees. With the unprecedented situation presented by the COVID19 pandemic, organizations have been focused on the well-being of their employees and sustaining operations, and we are now seeing companies shift their focus on employee and executive rewards strategy – evaluating the new form of rewards programs in the post-COVID-19 environment. One thing is certain that compensation and benefits practices need to be re-visited and it cannot continue as usual.


Lynette D’Silva on the COVID-19 triggered evolution of benefits and rewards Lynette D’Silva, Head of Regional HR - India & APAC at Amdocs discusses the evolving benefits landscape on account of COVID-19, the need to reassess goals in the short-term, and her take on redesigning rewards to compensate for the financial setback borne by employees, in an exclusive interaction with People Matters By Bhavna Sarin

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What has been your biggest observation about

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ynette D’Silva, Head of Regional HR - India & APAC at Amdocs comes with over 25 years of experience across IT and Telecommunications, having played key leadership roles in HR and led cross functional teams on strategic projects. She has championed leading roles in the areas of compensation management, organization development, employee relations, internal communications, HR consulting, talent acquisition, and mergers & acquisitions. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Lynette discusses the evolving benefits landscape on account of COVID-19, the need to reassess goals in the short term, and aligning work expectations in sync with the existing exceptional circumstances. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

leaders and employees throughout the first half of this year? The first half of the year has been one of immense learning and testing of our skills and abilities, including that of the leaders. The sudden change from the normal mode of working to adapting to the new normal of 'work from home,' came with its own set of challenges. Right from IT

logistics to infrastructure, to home networking and connectivity, to managing and balancing personal and work priorities, there have been plenty of aspects that needed immediate attention. Some of the competencies that our leaders have managed to demonstrate are the ability to manage during ambiguity, think and respond strategically, lead and engage their teams, be resilient, and AUGUST 2020 |

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display empathy. The leadership team remained true to its employees by trusting and empowering them to take ownership and accountability of their tasks. I am happy to share that our employees have risen to the occasion and ensured we deliver on our commitments while working remotely during the lockdown.

our managers with all the necessary resources for leading teams remotely during these unprecedented times. The website also has sections on managing self, personal health and wellbeing, activities and tools for the entire family, and an employee connect and experience sharing corner for the larger workforce.

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We should trust and empower our teams to take ownership and accountability of their tasks and provide them with the flexibility, while accomplishing their individual and team goals

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mission-critical systems needed to keep our customers in 80 countries running their operations seamlessly and without interruption. I think what should matter in situations like these is productivity and our ability to deliver. We should trust and empower our teams to take ownership and accountability of their tasks and

Do you sense a need to train managers and leaders on being more accepting of the exceptional circumstances we live in today and aligning work expectations in sync with that? While our leaders and managers have proven their resilience by adapting to the current situation, as an organization, we have ensured that we equip them with the right tools, training and resources in order to manage effectively and respectfully. We launched a Virtually Together website to provide | AUGUST 2020

A recent survey stated that 28 percent of professionals feel like their boss values them based on how many hours they work. What is your take on this? What should employers keep in mind while revising the performance framework for their remote employees? We need to be flexible and adaptive in order to survive and thrive as an organization. Our employees have been mobilized to work from home to reduce risk of infection while, at the same time, they can securely access the

provide them with the flexibility to do so, while accomplishing their individual and team goals. Being extra sensitive to their time constraints and personal commitments is essential. Also, timely and constructive feedback on an ongoing basis rather than at stipulated intervals is also required to achieve the desired outcomes.

In your opinion, which performance metrics will now determine compensation? Compensation cannot be purely based on a specific performance metric or crite-


rion. It is based on the overall performance of an individual along with his current salary position visa-vis the market. And this will continue to be the case going forward too. Though, goals set out at the beginning of the year will have to be reassessed in some cases to focus more on the short term, immediate and urgent priorities, especially for the current cycle.

and family, timely rewards and recognition, and giving time off work are some of the initiatives being taken.

As business and HR leaders look to reset workplace and people policies in the new reality of work, how is the benefits landscape changing? Benefits can range from insurance to special leave to personal development sessions. We have made a concerted effort towards ensuring that employees and their dependents are supported during the COVID crisis. Health insurance

What are your priorities with regard to adapting to the post-COVID-19 world? Any specific initiative you plan to take around performance and rewards? We are working each day on how to best continue to keep the health and safety of our employees and their families our top priority during this time, while maintaining our business continuity and performance. We conducted dipstick surveys to understand the employee sentiments and are working on the ensuing priorities. We will continue to recognize and reward employees for their achievements and outstanding performance. AUGUST 2020 |

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Goals set out at the beginning of the year will have to be reassessed in some cases to focus more on the short term, immediate and urgent priorities, especially for the current cycle

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What reward strategies can organizations consider to help employees navigate these challenging times? How should employers go about managing rewards, particularly if they’re unable to bounce back to previous pay levels? I believe that employees are prudent enough to understand that the priority for every organization is to maintain performance standards and meet business goals. A competitive salary package is always on top of an employee’s wish list, but in situations like the one we are facing right now, every employee is willing to contribute to the organization’s goals and continue to learn and stay up-to-date with future skills. It is the organization’s responsibility to provide learning and growth opportunities for employees. Ensuring a safe and healthy work environment, benefits like insurance coverage for employee

coverage is provided to our employees and their families, with an additional top up option to cater to the current needs. We have launched several employee well-being programs such as meditative yoga, resilience, music, art, and others. Besides, we have launched an expanded employee assistance program for employees and their families. In addition, we are conducting sessions on lifestyle management, healthcare, ergonomics, special precautions to be taken by expecting mothers during COVID-19, and safety measures to be taken for children in the current situation.

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Talent pool is now a global one: Ian Tyler, Talent International

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In this exclusive interaction with People Matters, Ian Tyler, the Chief Strategy Officer of Talent International highlights how highly skilled and specialized contract workers are likely to be in high demand even during COVID-19, perhaps sufficiently to offset even the pandemic's impact on their opportunities By Mint Kang

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s companies look into the possibility of restructuring their workforces, various questions arise around the role that contract staff will play in the "new normal" of how we work. Ian Tyler, the Chief Strategy Officer of IT recruitment specialist Talent International, shared some thoughts with People Matters around the changes that contractors, particularly the highly skilled and specialized professionals in the IT sector, might expect in | AUGUST 2020

terms of opportunities, remuneration, and benefits. Here are the highlights of the conversation.

What trends have you seen in the treatment of contractors before, and now during, COVID-19? By and large, the vast majority of organizations treat contractors somewhat differently. Organizations are prepared to pay a little bit more to get the job done, which means that contractors could have a slightly higher remuneration if

there is a high expectation of deliverables. But the downside for the contractors is that often, there's a feeling of isolation. They're not necessarily invited to the Christmas party, if you get my drift. They don't necessarily have access to the health and well-being benefits that are available to permanent employees. And in the current global skills economy, the expectation of the contractors' ramp-up time is almost painful. They are expected to come in, get running immediately, and start the very same day. In contrast, a permanent hire would have a proper induction into the team, have a period of practice mapped out in their onboarding process, and have the opportunity to build some connections between them and their coworkers. Contractors do not have any of that.

How can companies help contractors cope with these challenges, rather than leaving it up to them?


The skills that have been in high demand and low supply, or that are not so central to the business could increasingly move to contractor or freelance basis rather than in house where their next opportunity will come from.

Will that fear lessen as companies start restructuring their workforces around the new paradigm COVID19 has created—will more opportunities open up for contractors as a result? Organizations will still by and large want to have a permanent workforce at their core, in order to maintain a certain culture and a degree of stability. But the skills that have been in high demand and low supply, or the skills that are not so central to the business, such as marketing and communications—organizations could become increasingly accustomed to having those AUGUST 2020 |

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300 percent increase in the uptake of that app. That uptake actually is a massive proof point as to why stress management is so important. For contractors, the expectations are constantly there, yet their employment is not permanent. Let's say that XYZ organization has engaged contractors and a crisis hits, whether financial or pandemic. And if the contractors are not on a fixed term appointment and the project they are supposed to deliver gets parked for whatever reason, well, that is it. There's no direct employment relationship between them and that organization. So, there is this constant fear around

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We need to look at their physical, mental, financial, and educational well-being. Educational well-being is around what organizations can do to provide these contractors with the ability to continually develop their skills. This is a gap that we have actually been working on closing, in partnership with Skillsoft. We created a platform that gives contractors access to a huge range of online courses, so that they have the opportunity to upskill or learn additional skills whilst on contract. The overarching objective is that when an organization engages us to supply contract workers, those contract workers will stay longer and perform better. Financial well-being is around ensuring that contractors have access to benefits including support around their insurance, leasing, and other financial matters. And then there is support for their physical and mental well-being, which is so important especially during this period of isolation that we've all had to endure. We have a partnership with an organization called Headspace, that provides an app that allows people to recognize signs of stress in themselves and gives them tools for handling that stress. And during this COVID-19 period, we saw an excess of

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on contractor or freelance basis rather than in house. And of course, some skills like finance and technology have always been in that contracting space. Then you have remote working, and this might be a little controversial, but I think that COVID-19 has made organizations reconsider the location requirements for the roles they are hiring for. Let's say I need a software engineer or an application architect or a project manager, whatever the role or skillset may be, and I was looking for that person in a particular location, whether it be Singapore, Hong Kong, Adelaide, Sydney, or London, and I couldn't get that skill at the right time or for the right price. But now that person could actually be based in South Africa and performing that role perfectly well, with the help of the collaboration tools that were already there, that people just didn't use to the extent that they are today. Does that mean that the job that is currently being hired for could be performed by anybody, anywhere? I think organizations will no longer just tap into the talent pools of their particular city or within the particular radius where they've typically recruited. I think the talent pool now is a global one. And if organizations are going to embrace | AUGUST 2020

the opportunity to look at the full potential of flexible or remote workers, that's going to be very interesting to see over the next six to 12 months.

What about remuneration? We are seeing news about pay cuts practically every day these days— how are contractors being affected? There are a couple of different angles to that.

In the next 6-12 months, we could see incremental increases in the rates for highly skilled, highly specialized contractors, because at that point they will be in high demand with a very low supply Firstly, contractors that are already deployed on a contract and have already been deemed as a contractor. For the most part, contract rates have held up. There might be some discussion around saving on project costs, with the result that everybody on the project, from the permanent project manager to the software engineer to the architect, would probably take a small hit but stay employed.

Viewed through a talent lens, I think this is because we operate in a high demand, low supply talent pool. A software engineer position for instance, requires a really high degree of skill. It's difficult for us to acquire these talents if we pay them less than the market level. We have to pay them the same. And where some organizations couldn't sustain their projects and those contractors are now out in the market, other organizations are taking the opportunity to get the skills that they didn't have access to before. Going forward, I believe that contractors will continue to be paid at the same rates that they were leading into COVID-19. That's because if an organization is building products, that might be funded through capsulized expenditure versus how fixed-time equivalent is counted. What that means is that contractors' remuneration will by and large be wrapped up into a project cost, and so what you pay them will depend on what kind of work they are doing. And I think if we fast forward, perhaps the next six to 12 months, we'll start to see incremental increases in the rates for highly skilled, highly specialized contractors, because at that point they will be in high demand and there's a very low supply.


Rethinking rewards during COVID-19 Much needs to be done as we plan and strategize rewarding employees as the work from home scenario doesn’t seem to be going away in the near future. Here are some of the best practices by industry experts on how to go about rethinking and redesigning your total rewards strategy By Anushree Sharma

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hen the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, organizations around the globe implemented workfrom-home policies as a key way to help reduce COVID19 contamination vectors. A lot of companies in fact declared working from home as a lifetime initiative as they realized work from home has not really impacted their business continuity or performance. Twitter, Facebook, TCS are among some of the top employers that revealed that they will continue working from home post-COVID-19. However, implementing work from home on such a gigantic scale was not the only reality of people management brought to corporates by the crisis. The pandemic also brought mass layoffs, furloughs and massive pay cuts. By March, according to a study by Korn Ferry, a number of companies had already undertaken salary adjustments, and of this group, many (41

How do you keep up the motivation levels of your talent when nothing is going right? Is your workforce ready to put in the effort after continuously being in a state of uncertainty, fear and not being rewarded with what they deserve? percent) had either halted or were considering deferring annual merit increases. Likewise, about a third planned to adjust incentive programs, with short-term incentive reduction, deferral or delay outweighing longterm incentive reduction,

deferral or delay, 36 percent to 21 percent. According to the People Matters Survey, it was found that by April, 60 percent of the companies revealed they plan to cut employee cost in the form of layoffs and salary cuts. So, how do you keep up AUGUST 2020 |

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the motivation levels of your talent when nothing is going right? More importantly, the new normal of work requires new ways of working, developing new skills, and ability to go beyond and rethink business continuity and models. Is your workforce ready to put in the effort after continuously being in a state of uncertainty, fear and not being rewarded with what they deserve? Organizations need to consider how to develop differentiated reward offerings that engage employees with authenticity, empathy, and collective purpose. Here are some of the parameters suggested by the global rewards and benefits industry leaders:

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I. Optimizing rewards: Korn Ferry

processes. Fairness and inclusion considerations will become higher priorKorn Ferry’s research highity focus areas in talent lights five key areas of focus management. in total rewards over the next • Non-financial rewards will six months to two years: play an even more voluminous role in the current 1) Fit-for-purpose total times of economic instabilreward strategy ity. According to research This is top of mind as it is found that meaningful organizations consider how work, career development, to develop differentiated training, recognition, and reward offerings that engage an energizing work climate employees with authenticare more instrumental in ity, empathy, and collective talent engagement and purpose, and get the maxiretention than base pay and mum buy-in and investment variable pay programs. from their people. It entails • Organizations need to pay the following steps: special heed to the qual• A more profound focus is ity, clarity, transparency, required on internal pay and effectiveness of total equity, external scrutiny rewards communications. of that pay equity, and sustainable pay equity 2) Performance management programs • More flexible goal-setting processes will be implemented, with more flexibility in redirecting goals as needed. For many roles, we also expect annual goalsetting processes to be accelerated—to semiannually or quarterly—given challenges in unstable economic environments. • Given the need to build a line of sight and employee connection to outcomes, organizations are required to rebalance their focus with a few key metrics around organizational values, customers, operations, and human capital throughput metrics.


• There is an increased need for communication about organizational performance results and how they affect rewards. This includes connecting variable pay to broader organizational performance messages, establishing two-way (versus one-way) communications with employees, and better equipping leaders and managers to deliver messages.

3) Short-term incentive/ bonus pay design • Organizations will focus on clarifying team and individual priorities and performance objectives. • Organizations will need to establish a tighter line of sight in metrics and payouts at the individual and team levels versus the enterprise level. We anticipate greater use of individual and team performance modifiers as well as management discretion (within a framework) in determining variable pay—particularly in the immediate future.

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• An approach to conducting regular performance feedback and development conversations will take the lead. More frequent and substantial performance coaching will become the most important work managers will need to do. • The typical “five-level rating” schemes will need to be replaced with alternative approaches enabling organizations to credibly and efficiently identify those who are not contributing and those who are making a very substantial difference.

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How can organizations develop differentiated reward offerings that engage employees with authenticity, empathy, and collective purpose, and get the maximum buy-in and investment from their people

4) External pay benchmarking processes • Moving from utilizing many surveys for many jobs (often of a questionable quality match) to a select benchmark of highquality surveys covering a benchmark sample of jobs of reasonable breadth. • Moving away from overly precise definitions of market competitiveness (e.g., a 62.5-percentile positioning strategy) to a “competitive zone” framework. This will enable the establishment of compensation targets more flexibly and consistently, with a focus on internal need versus blindly following market data points. • Increased focus on benchmarking the aggregate investment in collective employment costs and pay programs versus solely a job-by-job comparison of competitiveness.

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Remove incentives for in-person care to reduce strain on the healthcare system, reduce employees anxiety, and encourage social distancing guidelines II. Rethinking incentives in well-being programs: Willis Towers Watson

With considerable spending on well-being incentives and programs, organizations had been increasingly focused on their effectiveness, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet Willis Towers Watson’s Global Benefits Attitude Survey found that only one in six employees highly recommend their employer’s health and well-being resources and initiatives. According to the findings of the survey, WTW recommends that when considering whether adjustments | AUGUST 2020

are needed to well-being incentive programs, benefits professionals should ask themselves the following: • Given social distancing guidelines and health care access, can my employees safely earn incentive dollars based on the structure currently in place? • Are employees earning the majority of incentives available to them? • Which barriers are preventing more employees from engaging in the well-being programs that are offered to them? • Will my incentives be helpful for employees returning to onsite work? • Is my investment in well-

being incentives generating the outcomes that meet my organization’s well-being guiding principles? Is my well-being incentive strategy flexible enough to meet the unique needs and preferences of my population? Is my program modernized to include meaningful programs that employees value to improve physical, financial, emotional and social wellbeing? Should I offer any incentives at all? After considering those questions, employers can then stratify approaches based on the short (reallocate), medium (revamp) and long term (reimagine).

Reallocate – Short-term adjustments to optimize spending Remove incentives for in-person care to reduce strain on the healthcare system, reduce employees anxiety, and encourage social distancing guidelines. Consider reallocating to virtual care such as telemedicine, tele-behavioral health and well-being apps (e.g. resiliency, sleep, etc.). Revamp – Transitioning back to work Assess and rethink your incentive strategy and its relevance and connect-


edness to your premium setting and well-being strategy. Expand focus and commitment to well-being by inventorying and encouraging actions to meet your employee’s needs across well-being pillars; physical, social, emotional and financial. Redeploy incentives for tools that will help employees transition back to work and bring awareness to high value benefits.

III. Alternative but simple ways of recognizing your employees’ efforts:

• Ask employees to take time off: Workers fear that, if they take time off now, their job may be gone when they come back. There’s a real risk of workers working straight

can be short-lived. Take the opportunity to celebrate by having a team virtual get-together that champions everyone’s successes. • Check In and Catch Up that connects your team: Take the time to talk to your remote employees, find out what

Reimagine – Adjusting to the new normal Transition away from prescripted, activity-based incentives altogether in favor of flexibility. Consider adopting a wellbeing fund to allow employees to spend dollars on areas of well-being that are most meaningful to them (e.g. classes, activities, coaching, financial counseling, etc.).

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Consider increasing allocations for resiliency, stress and financial programs.

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There’s a real risk of workers working straight for too long, especially since millions of people have seen their professional lives blur into their personal time by working from home for months for too long, especially since millions of people have seen their professional lives blur into their personal time by working from home for months. All of this can lead to employees burning out, which can dent engagement, productivity, and performance, especially mental acuity. • Celebrate small victories: When employees go above and beyond at work, they want to feel some appreciation for it. A company-wide email is a nice option, but its effects

makes them tick and feel valued. It could be they’d like something as simple as a little gadget that will help them out at home, or possibly some yoga equipment to enhance their health and well-being. You may be surprised what they come up with. Gallup’s report into employee recognition found the most memorable recognition is from an employee’s manager, and that’s even the same for staff who aren’t officebased. AUGUST 2020 |

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Performance and rewards in the new normal

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The organizational view of performance and rewards is a continuously evolving paradigm, shaped partly by business results, partly by what society considers valuable, and partly by reliance on old mantras. But with COVID-19 adding an extra and unexpected source of pressure on reward strategies, what should we now be rewarding? By Clinton Wingrove

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or decades, organizations have sought to master the relationship between performance and reward. Many have believed that direct linkages between pay and performance lead to increased collective performance and accelerated business growth, despite substantial evidence to the contrary. In most organizations, immense amounts of time and money are wasted annually on discussing and agreeing minor differentials in financial rewards, based on | AUGUST 2020

largely invalid and unreliable assessments of performance, when the overall pots of money have been mainly affected by aspects well beyond any individual’s control. But, rewarding and recognizing performance is only one element out of seven in any robust performance management process. For any reward and recognition strategy to produce optimal results, all seven must be well designed with an holistic view of how they will apply in each organization.

Most importantly, the effectiveness of every one of the seven elements is dependent on the caliber of the immediate managers—far more than on the specific process.

What does this mean for our thinking around reward strategies? Going forward, our reward strategies for those in people-management roles must focus on the quality of their people-management—how they apply these seven elements and how they manage their human resources, not merely their financial and material assets.

Setting the direction Clarifying roles

Planning & aligning performance

Monitoring & measuring performance

Rewarding & recognizing performance

Assessing & evaluating performance

Enabling & enhancing performance


demonstrable returns on investment. Indeed, many have produced negative impacts! Most organizations’ attempts to undertake genuine job evaluation, to which base pay rates can then be tied, have suffered from similar issues because evaluation requires us to answer the question:

But into the 80’s, the view of good performance and reward became a blend. In many organizations executives were rewarded mainly for results against objectives and partly for behavior and competence (say 70:30); managers somewhat more for behavior (e.g., 60:40). More variety was evident for individual contributors

Most traditional job evaluation models place far too a high a value on pure revenue and profit generation and too little value on the wider contributions that the role makes to the success and sustainability of the organization

In the 1950s, it was easy. Success was measured simply by, “Results, period!” Linking pay to performance was relatively simple too—you placed most value on roles that contributed most to the generation of revenue and profit. You rewarded individuals purely for output. Piecework was common. So too was summarily dismissing people who did not produce the tangible results demanded. By the late 70’s, we had discovered the folly of “Results at any cost” and many organizations did 180 degree turns, focusing largely on rewarding behavior or competence.

depending on their roles (e.g. sales 90:10, and service or functional staff 20:80). Financial pressures during the 00’s led to one notable exception—a move to reducing full-time contracts and paying “employees” only when needed or using gig-economy workers, both paid for delivering to a specific statement of work. But this has met with significant societal resistance. During the 00’s, we also saw social pressure demanding that organizations take steps to protect the environment and arrest global warming. COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated this shift towards increased social responsibility. And the expectation is that this will be reflected, at least, AUGUST 2020 |

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What do we want to pay for, i.e. what do we really value?

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The relationship between an individual, their performance, and their financial rewards is complex. Any model must take many factors into account, including but not limited to: • The clarity of the performance expectations; • The validity and reliability with which performance can be measured; • The ease with which the individual can meet expectations agreed or set; • The extent to which factors beyond the individual’s control can affect their performance; • The personality of the individual e.g., what enhances or reduces their personal motivation; • The individual’s financial needs; • The size of the financial reward on offer and at risk; • The extent to which the reward can be reliably predicted by the individual; • The time period before the reward can be realized; • The individual’s normal financial horizon e.g., do they live financially from week to week; • The individual’s typical disposable income as a percentage of gross income. • It is no wonder that oversimplified corporate performance related pay and incentive models have failed to produce

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in executive remuneration packages.

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So, what should organizations be rewarding in the future? What should we value?

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A number of factors are affecting what society considers valuable—COVID-19, the evidence appearing to substantiate the existence of global warming, and global social pressure for organizations of all types to address discrimination of all types. Most notably, during the course of only a few months, we have all come to realize the value of front-line workers—those who keep us safe, protect us and our property, teach our children, provide our food, and treat us when we are sick. Most of those were, and still are, on low pay with little opportunity for personal reward for excellence. Suddenly, society now values far less many formerly prized roles such as politicians, corporate executives, investors, sports stars, so-called celebrities. Society now values those who make the world a better place for all of us, not those who pursue only their personal benefits and aggrandizement. So too, organizations world-wide have been forced by COVID-19 to acknowledge that looking after the welfare of their staff is critically important; that their staff are human before they are resources. | AUGUST 2020

Organizations are now realizing what data has shown for decades: 1. The significant differentiator of sustainably successful organizations is the caliber of their management and leadership. High caliber peoplemanagers have not waited for HR to sort out what to do during the crisis. They have managed the crisis, led the way, and looked after their staff. 2. Poorly designed financial reward systems create more harm than good. The challenge for every organization is, “Will you recognize those and act accordingly?” If not, you are probably paying the price now, and will do so even more in the future.

for excellence at something else. This has been a critical failing for decades. Organizations must: • Attract, select, and onboard into peoplemanagement roles only those who have the desire and potential to excel as people managers and leaders, not those who have excelled at something else; • Continuously monitor and develop people-managers’ performance and skills; • Reward non people managers who excel (but do not have both the desire and potential to excel as people managers) in ways other than giving them people-management responsibility. Human resources are not a generic reward currency!

Management Excellence

Rewarding Individual Performance

Organizations must cease using people-management responsibility as a reward

Organizations must now rethink their reward strategies in terms of core pay


Performance Management and Reward

All performance management activity, including any reward strategy, must be focused on: • Optimizing the performance of staff, given the prevailing capability and resources; • Optimizing the development of staff to meet current and future demands.

lence, any shortfall in their recognition of those three factors will undermine their credibility and effectiveness. I believe that successful organizations will aim to do four things that we know work: 1. Reflect their values in the base pay that they pay for each role, clearly reflecting society’s current strong preferences, and using multi-factor job evaluation systems to bring rigor to pay rates; 2. Create ways in which to reward individual

Organizations must now rethink their reward strategies in terms of core pay and benefits, and performance related rewards Individual performance expectations must therefore include: 1. What we expect the individual to produce as outputs/results; 2. How we wish them to go about producing those results, such as the processes to follow, the competencies to demonstrate, and the interactions and relationships to maintain; 3. The growth or development they need to meet current and future demands. If we are to deliver individual rewards for excel-

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These demand management excellence and will fail without it. We must also recognize that COVID-19 has heightened our recognition and respect for each other. We have shifted markedly from a highly individualist form of capitalism to a more social and collective approach.

Future reward schemes will have to recognize more collective achievements as well as individual achievements.

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and benefits, and performance related rewards. Most traditional job evaluation models are probably outdated, placing far too a high a value on pure revenue and profit generation and too little value on (a) the wider contributions that the role makes to the success and sustainability of the organization, and (b) its contribution to society overall. We must move to multifactor schemes which allow much greater recognition of those contributions in how we determine base pay. In terms of individual rewards, we must ensure that our reward strategies maximize our use of: • Complementary benefits such as working hours and location flexibility, vacation, insurances, healthcare, facilities e.g., gyms and cafeterias, work station equipment; • The much more powerful non-financial rewards such as empowerment, timely personal recognition, development opportunities, team engagement, autonomy.

contributors for excellence, other than giving them people to manage; 3. Drive fast and hard to deliver management excellence—to optimize performance and development that way rather than attempting to do it through financial means; 4. Move to ad hoc financial rewards for collective performance rather than for individual performance. Clinton Wingrove is the Director of www.WantToBeGreatManager.com and www.ClintonHR.com AUGUST 2020 |

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‘We have digitized our services, rethought the entire supply chain amid this pandemic’

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During the lockdown period, we rolled out several digital campaigns with the idea of creating an intrinsic connection with our riders and to keep the momentum of the riding spirit high, says Vinod Dasari, the CEO of Royal Enfield, in an interaction with People Matters By Abid Hasan

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he iconic motorcycle brand Royal Enfield has its own fan base. When the lockdown was announced the riders were devastated to know that they won’t be riding down a long stretch. The pandemic has also got the manufactures to ride through a rough road. Over the last four months, the company has closed some of its factories. The regional offices today are also not operational. The majority of employees are working from home and trying to function the same way they were doing before corona days.

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We caught up with Vinod Dasari, CEO, Royal Enfield, to talk about their journey amid the pandemic, how the company is managing the workers during this crisis, and more. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

At Royal Enfield, we want to provide a platform for our employees to help them come together, learn, and engage, and be motivated response from our customers. Our mentions and conversation around the brand on social media platforms have witnessed an upsurge with an increase of more than 50 percent. The engagement across platforms has been at an all-time high.

There will be large portions of the workforce that will not return to a traditional office postpandemic. How prepared are you for that? The pandemic situation has forced all of us to remain confined to our homes. People are working from home, have limited

social interaction, and are perhaps dealing with uncertainty and anxiety. As organizations and leaders, it is important for us to empathize and help employees overcome their anxiety. At Royal Enfield, we have been actively engaging in programs that have been preparing us for a new normal, if we may call it so. We want to provide a platform for our employees to help them come together, learn, and engage, and be motivated. Taking inspiration from the Ted Talks, we launched our very own RED Talks (Royal Enfield Discussions). The RED Talks is aimed at enabling AUGUST 2020 |

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COVID-19 seems to be accelerating digital transformation in the workplace across industries. What’s your take on fast-tracking the digital agenda amid this crisis? Royal Enfield has always focused on bringing more value and engagement to our customers across all levels of brand interaction to create an involved purchase and ownership experience that is seamless and hassle-free. In line with that, we have rolled out a slew of initiatives that offer contactless purchase and service experience. We are enabling customers to own the motorcycle in three simple steps without as much as walking into a store. We have enabled home test ride, online booking and e-payment. And then the product is delivered at the doorstep. During the lockdown period, we rolled out several digital campaigns with the idea of creating an intrinsic connection with our riders and to keep the momentum of the riding spirit high. We have received a great

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down without the support of their families. Additionally, we’ve also made accessible learning courses that worked out to nearly 10,000 hours of learning. As an organization, we want to make the most of the given situation and would like to come out sharper both physically and mentally.

Our aim is to keep people constructively engaged since despair can set in during this period of near solitary confinement, especially for those who are braving the lockdown without the support of their families employees to learn from each other’s experience and thereby making full use of each other's creative potential. From leadership and management lessons to technical DIY sessions, to general musings on travel and music, and to tips and tricks to better your culinary skills, RED Talks have had employees taking the platform and speaking to others to help each other learn something new every week. Going beyond employees, we have also opened up

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RED Talks for our external stakeholders and business partners. We have regularly remained engaged with all our vendors and business partners, through this period, through formal and informal forums to keep them apprised of our plans, and more importantly to support them in whatever manner required. Our aim is to keep people constructively engaged since despair can set in during this period of near solitary confinement, especially for those who are braving the lock-

What kind of impact have you seen on the business and workforce due to this pandemic and how are you preparing your business and workforce for the postCOVID-19 times? Our focus has always been to offer a pure motorcycling experience with all our products and propositions, complemented by our community engagement initiatives. However, in the wake of the pandemic, we have also prioritized the immediate need of the hour and channelized our energies to become a survivalist brand which not just foresees but caters to the evolving needs of the customers. We have digitized our services and have rethought the entire supply chain and distribution with contactless retail, online configurator, and digital experiences at dealerships. On the customer side, we provided services like test ride at your doorstep, contactless servicing, and seamless ownership experience.


our regional offices will continue to work from home. In a lot of places, our field force used to complain that they have to travel a lot between the regional office and their own homes and then visit the dealer in between and so on. So travel was a major headache, especially in crowded places like Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, and Chennai. This has also increased work-life balance and hence efficiencies.

What are some of the leadership lessons that have guided you in the current times of crisis?

The need of the hour is to stay aware, be empathetic towards each other, and lend a kind hand in whichever way possible

Leadership at these times becomes crucial to steer everyone in the right direction. A good leader not only understands this but instills a collective vision and hope for the future. During a crisis, incentives and motivations change, potentially leading to new cooperative behaviors and even to the creation of new systems or structures. Crises can get the collective adrenaline flowing, focusing minds to solve the problem at hand. In moments like these, when the choices we make are so impactful, people look up to leadership to not just be empathetic but astute and agile as well. The mantra to run with would be to stay - Hungry, Humble and Humane. At an individual level, what this means is that the need of the hour is to stay aware, be empathetic towards each other and lend a kind hand in whichever way possible. One cannot expect to write something on the wall and hope for people to follow it. It is about the ability to do more, show people their true potential, and show them a better world. One has to show how it is possible. The only way you can build this is to build a connection. Leadership is the capacity of the person to connect with others. AUGUST 2020 |

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Royal Enfield has shut down various offices across the country due to the crisis. There is no certainty of this crisis coming to an end. How are you planning to get back into action? Royal Enfield has been thinking about making the workplace more efficient even before the pandemic. We have ensured that maximum number of employees work from home for roles that can be delivered remotely to reduce employee concentration at our offices and plants. That has worked very well for us and in fact many of

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Leon Adato

WFH 101: What happens when IT is in lockdown?

Post-COVID-19 Workplace

With lockdowns around the region being extended or reestablished, the burden of keeping workflows smooth and functional continues to fall upon the IT professionals. Here are some areas they can include in their bucket lists

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ruth be told, your employees are most likely headed to work this morning wearing their pajamas. As governments across Asia extend or re-establish nationwide lockdowns, millions of workers now find themselves having to work from home for an indefinite amount of time. The functionality of companies now rests in the hands of IT professionals. They face the pressure of maintaining all the digital elements making remote work possible, and most of them will have to manage this with limited direct access or visibility over corporate networks or devices. If it isn’t already crystal clear, business success now hinges on whether a small group of IT experts has the time, tools, and techniques to manage an environment where there’s a one-to-one correlation between “the number of | AUGUST 2020

corporate remote sites” and “how many employees work here.” So here are some ways IT teams can continue to ensure productive work from home experiences for their employees in the face of new work norms while they prepare for “recovery” in the many ways this word can be interpreted.

Preparation is the key to recovery IT pros need to stay one step ahead and should start by forming a list of

the top services experiencing high levels of demand from remote employees. For example, internet data traffic in Singapore has surged by as much as 60 percent, potentially resulting in lagging business networks and application interruptions. To cater to remote working arrangements, formerly on-premises businesses now clamor to move their systems operations to cloud platforms quickly, resulting in an exponential spike in traffic to the cloud.


• Track scalable service costs Higher traffic volumes and data interactions on “as a service” functions can (and likely will) cause costs to skyrocket—particularly those capable of auto-scaling to demand, like cloud services. This requires more than just a “double-check” mentality. It means setting up logging, tracking, and/ or monitoring for those services—both in terms of usage and consumption as well as performance and availability—and leveraging, or creating if necessary, a comprehensive set of reports and alerts so you can proactively know about spikes and prevent unexpected charges.

• C heck licenses for digital tools As employees practice safe distancing and isolation, the Asia-Pacific is becoming one of the major contributors to the increased usage of video conferencing tools. However, most online communication tools only allow a limited number of users per license. To prevent workflow disruptions and complaints from teams, IT pros should practice due diligence by examining licensing limitations thoroughly before engaging them, especially if teams adopted the tools without the IT pros’ knowledge.

through vendor websites or social handles and to communicate updates with frustrated teams. But a more effective option is to leverage tools providing visibility into the end-to-end user experience of these services. • Automate wherever you can As demand for cloud adoption in Asia-Pacific spikes, the added pressure of managing more devices across multiple environments means IT pros will have little time left for crucial tasks like monitoring. To compensate, IT pros

Here are some ways IT teams can continue to ensure productive work from home experiences for their employees in the face of new work norms while they prepare for ‘recovery’ in the many ways this word can be interpreted • Be prepared for latency issues Though they may not have control over videoconferencing services, IT pros can expect an influx of emails or complaints regarding service performance. Yes, I’m saying you’re now responsible for “the internet.” One technique for managing this requires IT pros to remain vigilant over the status of these services

Post-COVID-19 Workplace

However, they run the risk of migrating to platforms without replication in Asiabased locations, whether it’s an absence of data centers or availability zones within the region capable of supporting this transition. Furthermore, with organizations in Asia now moving online to comply with social distancing measures, there’s the added challenge of performance concerns regarding the use of conferencing applications. In short, the default stance of any IT team should be to anticipate and prepare for the worst. Here are some things IT pros can do to be vigilant:

should adopt network solutions with some measure of automation to identify threats, highlight issues, and notify IT teams with minimal intervention. With the roles of IT pros evolving to encompass non-technical skills such as business planning, implementing selfservice capabilities can help remote users gain access to the information they need in an instant, giving IT pros AUGUST 2020 |

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more time to focus on newer and more complex tasks.

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• Switch to the right tools According to the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2020, 52 percent of IT pros use a mix of native application performance management (APM) tools and third-party tools. In these unprecedented times, these remote management tools can enable IT pros to better manage troubleshooting, adopt better network performance monitoring tools capable of giving them visibility over external devices, and implement security and VPN monitoring measures to combat new threat vectors.

Work from home vigilance

As employees bring their laptops (along with their monitors, keyboards, and even their desktop systems) home to comply with quarantine orders, hackers see the perfect opportunity to take advantage of weakened security systems. In fact, the cybersecurity company Carbon Black saw a 148 percent increase in ransomware attacks in March 2020. Any device connected to the business network could become a potential point of attack at any given time, and security should not be taken for granted. IT pros need to take extra measures to incorporate security and vigilance into | AUGUST 2020

Keep calm and… well, you know the rest

There are other things IT pros can do to ensure a smooth work from home experience. For example, they can share any “good practices” guidelines they’ve picked up in their career or offer detailed instructions on how to connect periphery devices or set up reasonable home network security. They can also share sensible advice like reminding people to avoid bandwidth-heavy streaming or downloads during video conferences. IT pros can provide value and alleviate anxiety by setting up chat areas on internal tools like Microsoft Teams or on external services like Slack for topics like recipes, pet pictures, and book discussions. Ultimately, IT pros, and their leadership, should remember they’re doing the best they can, given the severity of current events. any work from home policy Like everyone else, they or solution. Ideally, they need some time to readshould already have fundajust to the new work reality mental cybersecurity measand its accompanying chalures like user permissions, lenges. Unlike everybody device access management, mandatory two-factor authen- else, they’re probably providing tech support to family tication, VPN, and deep network monitoring in place. and friends as well as the IT pros can also tap into free entire corporation. Doing so vendor services—eliminating methodically and sensibly the need for time-consuming will help them navigate and clear the path through these budget approval—to step up difficult times. their cybersecurity profiles and ensure data breaches or Leon Adato is the Head Geek, cyberattacks remain under SolarWinds – an American IT company. control.

At a time when so many people are working from home, the default stance of any IT team should be to anticipate and prepare for the worst. What are some things IT pros can do to be vigilant?


‘A consistent feedback rhythm is needed to continue or pivot work’

By Jerry Moses

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nup Kumar Pal is the HR Head—Wabtec India Technology & Engineering Centre (WITEC), Wabtec Corporation. He has previously worked with General Electric and Hewlett Packard. In an exclusive interview with People Matters, he talks about how technology is supporting the company’s efforts in responding to the disruption by COVID-19.

Here are the excerpts of the interview.

What are some of the key shifts that the company has had to undergo with respect to the workplace and the workforce, in response to the disruption by COVID-19? Most of our employees have been accustomed to working remotely as part of our flexible working policy. This has come in very handy for our employees and teams. However, for the rest of the staff to remain productive, the team also organized over 250 laptops and desktops which were provided to the ‘home offices’ of the respective employees. The Wabtec engineering team adopted quickly

Apart from regular tools being used to capture productivity and efficiency, our key CTQ (critical to quality) remains feedback from our global customers, internal/external stakeholders to whom our engineers cater through the evolving situation arising out of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown announced by the Indian Government. Wabtec serves customers across the AUGUST 2020 |

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In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Wabtec’s Anup Kumar talks about the changing workplace and how the company is navigating the new normal

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world from India, supporting them across life cycles of locomotives and other products. In addition, as the lockdown was announced across the world in various stages, freight operations, considered an essential service, had to continue. With a multi-pronged approach, we connected across the organization to ensure communication and critical information flow is seamless. A leadership steering group was formed which meets on alternate dates to take stock of the evolving situation. Bi-weekly huddles with people leaders also help us connect with the next line of leadership who, in turn, engage in a weekly connect with their respective teams. We also ran extensive internal communications campaigns to drive home the seriousness of the pandemic. A global monitoring website was set up and updated periodically. Employees across locations were informed about what the organization was doing for their safety and how we are adhering to guidelines issued by the government for our ‘return to work’ as well. Currently, we are working with a lean staff with safe distancing protocols in place.

What all technologies and digital innovations are you employing to adapt to the new normal? 120

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Our IT team has done a fantastic job of scaling up the entire IT infrastructure, be it supporting our high computing IT infrastructure, supporting various business applications, or supporting every enduser with their individual machines. Extensive use of Skype, MS Teams, and regular training of various applications have ensured productivity has improved. Similarly, our factories in other locations have also restarted operations to address the local market requirements.

Many of your employees may be working remotely.

What are your biggest challenges with respect to dealing with this new style of working? Most of our employees have had experience working remotely during regular times, hence the transition has been smooth. However, employees are not used to working remotely for prolonged periods which is unique in the scenario arising out of COVID-19. Employees have had to adapt their working environment at home without any disturbances. With the high usage of the internet, bandwidth and video call drops are also part of the challenges which we face.

Most of our employees have had the experience of working remotely during regular times, hence the transition has been smooth


Our Leadership Steering Committee has our CIO and the functional leaders actively involved in taking decisions to enable our teams to be equipped with all the infrastructure needed to carry our operations as needed

What are some of the key impact measures you are tracking with respect to

How are you collaborating with all your business leaders including the CIOs/ CTOs to make sure you have the right digital infrastructure post-COVID-19? Our Leadership Steering Committee has our CIO and the functional leaders actively involved in taking decisions to enable our

teams to be equipped with all the infrastructure needed to carry our operations as needed.

What investments are the most necessary to create the technology environment that will allow your company to thrive in the next normal? We continue to invest in new technologies. The WITEC operations in India is the largest technology site in Wabtec Corporation. Our systems at present are helping us to meet business needs. We have investments in millions in laboratories and digital technologies which will continue to have a critical influence in shaping the next new normal. As the pandemic continues to challenge our ways of working, we continue to serve our customers with innovation and commitment. AUGUST 2020 |

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We have introduced some interesting social interaction opportunities within the organization on conferencing platforms. These include Zumba, Yoga, motivational sessions, as well as counseling. We understand and appreciate the fact that mental health is one of the biggest concerns in the current environment. As HR practitioners, we are empathetic towards such concerns and are trying to address the same with sensitivity. This is a global initiative across Wabtec as we value our employees and what each one of us does on a daily basis affects not just transportation but the economies of countries as well.

engagement and productivity? In addition to regular tools being used to capture productivity and efficiency, our key CTQ remains feedback from our global customers, internal/external stakeholders to whom our engineers cater. That is enabled by a robust mechanism to connect with each of them in a consistent rhythm to seek their feedback, the basis on which we continue or pivot our work.

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Visty Banaji

Draining the (training) swamp HR often gets sucked into the quicksand of following one training fad after another. Here are a few commonsensical ways to facilitate learning that contributes to performance and growth

The road less travelled

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few months back I came across an ad for a training program doing the rounds of HR groups. I quote verbatim lest I be accused of exaggerating: "Learn leadership skill from Horses (horses reflect your communication skills immediately). No prior experience required … Certified trainer from Germany." Is it any wonder that HR practitioners in general and our training brethren in particular are the butts of derision and ridicule from line managers? And have no doubts that when CEOs crib about wasteful and pointless expenses, training (of the equine or asinine variety) frequently tops the list.1 There are three fundamental flaws that vitiate much of the training HR proudly offers to employees currently: • Superficiality • Softness • Shaky foundations

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A few years back, among the most common train| AUGUST 2020

Future capability-building demands can emerge from career planning discussions and assessment centers ing programs (outside of the ubiquitous 'soft' skills training which we will deal with in the next section) were those whose target audiences were supposedly uninitiated lay-managers. 'Finance for Non-Finance Executives' was a perennial evergreen, as was the trusty mule, 'Labor Laws for Line Managers', which could be trotted out whenever there

was a blank in the training calendar. These one-day stands, which continue to be prevalent today (albeit with far snazzier titles), are symptomatic of a larger trend to fill training schedules with the simplest of offerings, which require the least design time and can be crammed down the throats of the maximum number of employees. Even


ing requires pre-training preparation, dissemination through a blend of methodologies, practice and, finally, repeated on-the-job use. "Learners who receive repetitions, retrieval practice, feedback, variety (and other potent learning methods) are more likely to remember than learners who do not receive such learning support."4 This is impossible in the tiny travesties (increasingly web-based) that pass for training.

Soft and soppy

Abraham Maslow is supposed to have said: "To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail". Let me then claim the credit for: "To an HR-person who can provide only soft skills training, every problem looks solvable simply by soft skills training". Certainly, that’s the way it appears to

employees and managers who are hungry for a more nutritionally balanced training diet. Of course, training in interpersonal and other behavioral skills has a vital place in the training offerings any company has for its people. However, they cannot be a substitute for the functionally relevant knowledge and skills that working professionals need and seek. There are three types of vital functional and management training that can get crowded out by overemphasizing just the behavioral nail which is the only one most HR trainers know how to hammer. The first value-addition people expect from training is the technical expertise to do their present jobs better and be prepared for future jobs or the new demands changing technology, company strategy, customer

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the day is far too long for the viral webinar pandemic that Covid-19 brought in its wake. But its hour-short duration is not the main reason that makes almost every webinar an energydraining waste of time. It will take an entire column to deal with the handicaps of this particularly horrid progeny of necessity. One cannot learn a substantive theory, method or skill in a day or two. At best it can be an amusebouche to awaken a desire to learn. Such brevity, whatever it does for wit, will certainly not boost employee proficiencies in any significant manner. I am afraid the argument that the millennial generation has everdecreasing spans of attention just won’t cut any ice. They are fully capable of undertaking rigorous courses of college study extending over months and years, so it is only the failure of our andragogical methods2 which makes them inattentive in longduration corporate training. As Darren Smith points out, "There is a huge difference between what science knows and what business does, when companies train their people. This is why HR Directors, HR Managers, L&D Managers and Sales & Marketing Directors need to 'say no to one day training courses'."3 Retained and practically applicable learn-

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expectations or regulations could bring. Recent business news has carried reports of IT majors laying off thousands of employees purportedly because their skills are outdated. If this claim is true, either these giants have training capabilities that would shame companies one-tenth their sizes or they are expending them disproportionately on softskills programs. The next level of training support important for employees is what equips

When people change tracks midcareer (whether because of personal interest or because the organization needs to redeploy them) there is a huge amount of knowledge and skill training they need them generally for a major career progression which confronts them with a totally different set of challenges and demands very different skills for solving them. Some of these inputs will doubtless need to be behavioral, but providing only the soft umbrella risks drenching all these career hopefuls in showers of functional incompetence in their new roles. Lastly, when people change tracks mid-career (whether because of personal interest or because

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the organization needs to redeploy them) there is a huge amount of knowledge and skill training they need. In the absence of it, even strong performers falter, doing damage to their own reputation and to rotation programs in general. Much of this has to be outsourced. The important thing is it needs to be budgeted and pursued, which is difficult if HR is only taken with making people better communicators and persons (whatever that means).

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Shaky foundations

The three commonest ways in which the foundations of any training can be weakened are: • Offering a training program simply because it is fashionable • Allowing personal preferences alone to determine training choices • Basing training on flawed science, faulty logic or fictitious connections. According to Miller and Hartwick, fads are simple, prescriptive, falsely encour-

aging, one-size-fits-all, easy to cut-and-paste, in tune with the zeitgeist, novel (not radical) and legitimized by gurus and disciples. They rightly conclude that: "The very characteristics that make fads popular also contribute to their decline. Their simplicity, presumed generality, and promise of results that often don’t materialize virtually guarantee that they’ll fall short of managers’ expectations – and soon be abandoned."5 Training fashions are a classic example of such management fads. Some of these activities reappear year after year, partly because they provide a never-failing diversion from dreary lectures. Whether they provide any worthwhile learning is another matter altogether. Gambolling over live charcoals (and sometimes getting burnt in the bargain6) is one such perennial favorite. An especially lethal version of fashion-following is when the CEO (and, to a slightly lesser extent, when the CHRO or other CXO) falls for it. You might think it unlikely for a hard-headed CEO, normally focused on tangible outcomes, to become a gooey-eyed acolyte of some wishy-washy management cult. But the harder they are, the bigger the fall – usually under the spell of an authorconsultant of high stand-


Following fashions or CEO preferences become fatal when they latch on to programs based on suspect science. I have devoted an entire column8 to the dangers of combining ersatz science and specious logic into an offering that claims to provide never-failing solutions to all of an organization’s ailments. In reality, they only succeed in providing a never-failing source of revenue to the solution provider! One of the most fecund sources of leasteffort training inspiration is extracting supposed lessons from someone else’s effort. Let me demonstrate how easy it is to tap into this mother lode of faky-shaky training. Here is a simple five-step recipe: 1. Choose any reasonably complex ancient treatise, epic tale or novel that you like. Run a Google search

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The road less travelled

ing. "Unfortunately, there are entire libraries of business books published each year that consist entirely of this kind of verbal fluff, hotairy concepts whose definitions consist of yet more biz-blab, all of which reinforce each other and seem to make sense (sort of) but which lack any grounding in the real world… The fuzzy language of consultant-speak … is dangerous because, according to neuroscience, language doesn't just reflect thought, it pre-determines and delimits the thoughts that a brain is capable of thinking. Put simply: jargon makes you stupid, especially smart people. Specifically in this case, the influence of consultant-speak jargon on their thought processes makes CEOs who are otherwise quite brilliant become impenetrably woodenheaded..."7

and, if someone else has beaten you to that one, pick another. On second thoughts, don’t worry about duplication or you may never get started. 2. Read the book. Of course, I am joking. You have much better things to read than ancient literature or wisdom (this column, for instance). That’s why WikiLAZYpedia was compiled: just look it up there. 3. Pick 6-10 messages, quotes or lessons that appeal to you in the summary. Why such few? Because you are targeting your offering at CEOs and, in case you didn’t know, span of attention comes down as span of control increases! 4. Tie these concepts together in a book if you can get a good ghostwriter (or have retired yourself) or in an article otherwise. Launch it at a posh event at the hand of as 'doyennish' an industrialist as you can persuade to be present. 5. Convert the so-called findings into an experiential workshop, replete with fire walks, horse talks or other such stunts thrown in, and make it the next fashion wave. A wonderful example came up recently in the "Leadership lessons from …" genre. The source of inspiration was Gabbar Singh in Sholay. The last of

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eight (remember, less than ten) learnings is "Basanti, Naach!". We are told this is a lesson to "Motivate your team through rewards beyond just salary and bonus....." I hope you will join me in standing respectfully to honor the ingenuity of Indian fad-designers.

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Training to address real needs

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There are many training models that are very effective though they clearly do not provide as much amusement as the ones we have been reviewing. Fundamental to all sound training initiatives is that they are based on consciously identified training needs (no, naachna is not a training need). If we confined our training agenda to addressing the following three types of needs, we would obviate most of the frivolous training that makes HR look foolish. The training that business partners most eagerly demand is for creating or maintaining key organizational competencies or fulfilling the strategic imperatives the business has identified. This is one reason why Kaizen provided a textbook training success story for many Indian manufacturing companies. Admittedly some of its sequel variants tended to take on the colors of a fashion bandwagon and were routinized | AUGUST 2020

at the cost of the spirit behind the quality movement. Another major load-lifting crane for need-based training has to be installed by manpower planners for taking groups of employees from one level of responsibility to another. Sometimes these groups can be fairly large such as, for instance, when operatives have to be prepared for supervisory roles or functional specialists are to be readied for multi-functional leadership roles. On the other hand, numbers are much smaller (though the training quality demands are at least as stringent) when employees with very high potential are fast-tracked several levels higher. Larger organizations can tailor much or this kind of training in-house but even the largest companies find it useful to collab-

orate with universities and institutes of higher education when promising internal resources have to be provided with degree-equivalent education (such as an engineering degree or an MBA). This type of longduration degree-equivalent opportunity for employees has two salutary effects in curtailing attrition. People do not leave the company to pursue the degree on their own and the resultant qualification doesn’t have the same market value (while being much more useful, because customized, for the company itself). Next come training demands that are individually driven. Every employee’s annual review needs to spend considerable time on her or his development needs, particularly as they relate to improving job performance and equipping


One cannot learn a substantive theory, method or skill in a day or two. At best it can be an amusebouche to awaken a desire to learn

The ultimate evaluator is the employee’s pocket

Those of us who grew up using one or other version of the venerable Kirkpatrick four level model for training

evaluation will be happy to know that warhorse is still in the race though models by Hamblin, Warr, Bramely and a host of others are also now in the running.9 I fear all of them are open to gaming by our sport-loving training managers.10 A look behind the scenes at the way trainers rig training evaluations deserves a full column and will have to wait for one. For the present I would like to propose just one fool (and gaming) proof way to evaluate training. Some of you may recall the projection I had made about the GIG workforce being willing to pay for training that kept skills current as well as that which added capabilities important for future and higher-level assignments.11 There is no reason for fulltime employee psychology to be any different for training they really value. Instead

of chasing employees with elaborate post-training evaluation forms, we could assign a certain training budget to each employee, to be spent, at the discretion of the individual, on the internal and external training s/ he chooses from the offerings authorized for that level and function by the company. Venue and other extraneous details would be standardized or blanked out so that they do not influence the decisions. To make it into a proper blood sport, employees could be allowed to encash 50 percent of the budget they leave unused at the end of the year. I hope some of you can implement this idea before it is banned by the SPCT (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Trainers).

The road less travelled

the individual for newer demands the job may bring. Future capability-building demands can emerge from career planning discussions and assessment centers in organizations with more sophisticated HR systems. Smaller firms will utilize discussions with the supervisor or HR to the same end. There can also be totally career-shifting training demands arising either from the employees’ self-discovery or when families of jobs are rendered obsolescent or surplus. Some of these may be of the degree-equivalent kind we have gone over but, given the pressures of time, they are more likely to be built up from modular components that are provided JIT to prepare people for their new careers.

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

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The big reset calls for resiliency and adaptability: Epicor’s CHRO

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In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Jignasha Amin Grooms, Chief Human Resources Officer, Epicor talks about the short-term as well as the longterm impact that COVID-19 will have on corporate culture, how it will forever transform HR’s role, and how technology would enable organizations to bring back normalcy in the new normal By Yasmin Taj

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he ongoing COVID19 crisis has shown us a world we had never imagined before. This new reality has forced governments, organizations and individuals alike to take strong and immediate steps to reassess the present and prepare for the new next. The way we looked at work, workplace and the workforce has changed drastically as well. And with this, the role of technology, culture, employee experience and in fact, the HR leader has only been amplified further. Organizations that will be quick to respond and adapt to this new normal, will be the ones to bounce back earlier and better than the rest. As we assess the changing face of the world of work and how

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I believe the workplace focus in the short term will continue to be on business resiliency and how companies can improve their ability to adapt quickly and efficiently it is responding to these changing dynamics, we talk to Jignasha Amin Grooms, Chief Human Resources Officer, Epicor where shares her thoughts on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the


As a global organization, how do you ensure there is a consistent employee experience/ culture? Fostering a consistent company culture and global employee experience is critical – it’s also easier said than done. However, for folks who see this as a daunting task, take heart. When I joined Epicor in November 2016, employees had little-to-no understanding of how the company worked or how their role added value. There was a perception that leadership was focused on cost cutting, with little regard for employees. My plan to course-correct involved several steps: visit our locations in person and listen to employees, learn where the pain points were, determine what our

ideal company culture would look like, get leadership buy-in, and then lead by example. The goal: to put our employees at the center of our business value proposition. When it came to transforming HR, I worked to rebrand what our function would be for Epicor – a function centered on employee growth, innovative ideas, and agile processes. Several major changes were made, including leveraging Artificial Intelligence to drive agility, implementing a standardized and structured performance management system based off merit, and launching a career journey matrix to help employees understand how they can grow internally within the organization. Due to this people-first approach, we have experienced a measurable, organic shift in Glassdoor ratings. Since 2017, employees’ approval rating of the company has increased to 82% (up 18%), and the CEO approval rating increased to 95% (up 30%).

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software industry, the long-term impact it will have on corporate culture, how it will forever transform HR’s role, and the role technology will play in the new normal as organizations work towards bringing back normalcy. Grooms is a human rights lawyer and before joining Epicor, she served as HR Leader at Cisco. She is passionate about the human part of human resources, and as the CHRO at Epicor, she is focused on strengthening employee engagement as well as supporting their globally diverse, customer-first culture. More specifically, she provides overall leadership for Epicor’s People and Talent Strategy, as well as strategy and direction for talent- and people-related matters globally. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

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Successful HR teams have stepped up during this unique season to help drive critical business decisions and change management with agility and adaptability

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We are now also being externally recognized by global media as a great place to work.

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How has COVID-19 impacted your industry and your HR strategy/initiatives? As a software company that focuses on small- and mediumsized businesses, COVID-19 has definitively impacted our customer base in all six of the industries we serve (manufacturing, retail, distribution, lumber, auto, and services). Because we are a global company, it was critical for us to get ahead of this situation. In early January, our HR team established a cross-functional task force that focuses on the safety and security of our employees globally. That task force has been instrumental in laying the foundation for how we efficiently and effectively transitioned into a WFH environment. This proactive thinking paid off – 99.1% of our employees transitioned to working from home without any addi| AUGUST 2020

tional equipment. We also sought to support employees by allowing folks a safe opportunity to pick up items from their desk area that would make WFH more effective for them (e.g. dual monitors, printers, etc.). Additionally, we continue to monitor the situation by keeping weekly tabs on our employees and customers to see how they are doing, particularly when it comes to reopening. We’ve seen slow and steady progress over the last month around the reopening schedule, and we have thoughtfully focused on aligning our customer and sales support towards those locations. We also reengineered our task force to focus on our own returnto-office initiative so that the employees who are ready to work on location can voluntarily come back to a safe and healthy environment. We want them to understand Epicor’s global preparedness plan, what we’ll provide regarding safety measures, and what is expected from them when they return in order support the actions we are taking on their behalf.


term will continue to be on business resiliency and how companies can improve their ability to adapt quickly and efficiently.

What potential long-term impact on corporate culture do you anticipate as a result of the pandemic? I think the way we work will shift significantly over the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years. The short answer is that, long term, I believe we will see a sizable increase in WFH adoption coupled with intentional and innovative efforts to promote a connected company culture. As newer generations come into the workforce, that shift will be defined by where they find value. I love that there have been some small but significant silver linings that have come out of what we all have collectively gone through globally. One of those silver linings has been the opportunity to pilot WFH. That said, employees are always going to want spaces where they can come together to collaborate. I believe

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How do you think the workplace will look post-COVID-19 in the short term? Physically, I think it will look very different. Many companies have already decided to keep their workforce virtual for the next few months, and some have decided to remain virtual for the rest of 2020. At Epicor, we believe that there is a lot of innovation, communication, and collaboration that comes from being in the office together. For some of our global locations, employees have a cultural expectation – perhaps even a need – to be able to come into an office environment. That’s why we seek to be sensitive to our employees’ needs globally by giving them the freedom to make the best decision for them and their families at this time. For folks who are ready to return, we are focused on providing a safe environment, following all local guidelines, and staying compliant. For example, our largest location is in Monterrey, Mexico. The government of Mexico requires us to fill out a detailed document with pictures of health stations and areas where employees can go if they start to exhibit symptoms. We are taking every single precaution we need to so that as employees request to return to the office, we can support their health and well-being to the best of our ability. Alternatively, from a business standpoint, there’s still a lot of uncertainty around when things will return to some sense of normalcy. As a result, I believe the workplace focus in the short

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it ultimately comes down to flexibility – providing employees the choice to work from home and in environments that give them joy and fulfillment, which ultimately drives productivity and engagement. One thing that corporations can learn and plan for in the long term is how to help your workforce evolve to be able to effectively and efficiently WFH while still staying engaged and feeling like they are part of the overall corporate culture. Because as COVID-19 has taught us, one of the largest downsides with WFH is feeling isolated. At Epicor, we are looking for new and innovative ways to continue to drive

COVID-19 has highlighted the necessity of digital transformation for companies that want to stay relevant. It’s no longer a question of if, but when

employee engagement and collaboration, as well as how to drive a very differentiated employee experience – especially when our business is on a global scale.

Do you think COVID-19 will forever transform the HR’s role; how so? Rather than transform HR’s role, I think COVID-19 put a spotlight on where HR has already been headed. One of the big shifts I’ve seen during my 20+ years as an HR leader is that HR has moved from a more transactional personnel/support function to a critical business function that serves as a strategic thought leader for organizations. Successful HR teams have stepped up during this unique season to help drive critical business decisions and change management with agility and adaptability. At Epicor, I’m fortunate to partner with a supportive executive leadership team and a CEO who empowers HR. Ultimately, a company’s success is interdependent on all these HR efforts happening the right way at the right time. Success will also hinge on employees staying engaged and feeling like their company will put them first. Therefore, as HR’s role evolves with the times, I expect it to continue to serve as a thought leader that is focused on company culture and change management. How has the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation journeys of organizations? COVID-19 has highlighted the necessity of digital transforma-

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What role would technology play in the new normal as organizations work towards bringing back normalcy? Just as it has been key to keeping organizations running these past few months during extraordinary circumstances, technology is going to play a huge role as workplaces move toward “normalcy”. Even before COVID-19, we were in the midst of the next industrial revolution – Industry 4.0. To stay competitive, companies will need to leverage artificial intelligence (AI), business intelligence (BI), business analytics (BA), and machine learning (ML) to

It’s the accessibility and mobility of Cloud in particular that is allowing companies to adapt quickly in order to retain some sense of business resiliency drive efficiency and effectiveness. What’s exciting is that these tools allow us to iterate on a process (e.g. HR, programming, support, etc.) to the point where we can free up hundreds of hours of employee time, which will in turn drive efficiency and effectiveness like never before. For example, over the past year at Epicor, HR heavily leveraged AI to drive agility and address the competitive talent acquisition process. At Epicor, we are focused internally on driving digital transformation not just for ourselves, but for our customers in order to offer a differentiated experience and help drive security and data preservation in a way we haven’t seen before. AUGUST 2020 |

I N TERVIEW

tion for companies that want to stay relevant. It’s no longer a question of if, but when. As a result, we are seeing both increased urgency and accelerated adoption. Many organizations that began the journey prior to this situation are ramping up implementation, and others that had been on the fence are beginning the process because they now understand the benefits firsthand. It’s obvious that technologybased solutions are what allow us to carry on with business through shelter in place guidelines and social distancing protocols. For example, retailers and food services are able to continue business operations by offering curbside pickup and touch-free transactions with handheld devices. It’s the accessibility and mobility of Cloud in particular that is allowing companies to adapt quickly in order to retain some sense of business resiliency.

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Dr. M. Muneer

Aligning SBUs with corporate strategy Using a four step process, Dr. Muneer shows how CEOs can increase alignment across the business with a focus on achieving the core strategic objectives

L e a d e r s hi p

In the contributory technique, each cascaded scorecard contains translated but congruent objectives that clearly support the larger enterprise objective

W

hile strategy gets formulated at the top, it gets executed at the bottom. It is also important that leadership team engages business heads, support unit heads and other stakeholders for the success of the enterprise strategy. Without alignment of all these different groups with the enterprise strategy, it is not possible to drive execution excellence. When nine out of ten organizations fail to achieve

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their internally set objectives, it is clear that leadership teams have failed in getting horizontal and vertical alignment within. This is all the more challenging in a post-corona economy, which brings in many more challenges, and there is nothing more important than your strategy and its meticulous execution. When everyone understands his or her role in executing the strategy, and when business unit leaders create synergies – unex-

pected opportunities to generate results that benefit the participating units and the overall organization, true alignment is achieved. I am sharing, for the first time, the secrets of achieving alignment, based on years of work at various organizations globally. Most CEOs do not understand what it takes to bring in true alignment. In true alignment, each SBU supports the strategy of the unit above it and also the strategy of its peer


Case Example An engineering company that designs, builds, manages and maintains oilrigs approached us for better alignment given that its strategic challenges were many. It has five independent entities (each supplies a unique service to the customers and to the parent company), and they have silos between them, with each having its own customers some of whom are common but these entities didn’t realize that. Inefficiency, duplication and confusion were the results of these challenges. The company struggled with rising costs and increasing competition. We suggested breaking the silos between the business units and offering integrated solutions for a seamless customer experience. The strategic objectives were derived from this and a strategy map was developed. This was then cascaded into the five operating business units vertically. This resulted in each SBU knowing which objectives it has to focus on in order to deliver a seamless experience to customers. The corporate strategy objectives with metrics were cascaded to a set of objectives and metrics to the business units and acted as a basis

Corporate Strategy map/ Scorecard

Business unit scorecards develop objectives that contribute to the corporate strategy, but may not be indentical

for SBU managers to measure, monitor and manage better. We formed a cross-business units team to debate two issues: how is it for customers to do business with our five SBUs and what customer needs are to be me at each stage of our value chain and how to coordinate between the SBUs to meet then. We encouraged them to express customer needs in the words of customers and not what the unit heads thought. That helped achieve a better clarity for unit heads to align. By cascading, the SBUs collaborated to develop a new profitable offering – Integrated Solutions – that became 35% of their revenues within two years, started finishing integrated projects before time and below budgets, and started getting several new customers across the world.

L e a d e r s hi p

units. Which means it is an activity that is both vertical and horizontal. Vertical alignment is when your SBU supports the strategy of the unit above you, and the units below yours support your unit. We do this through cascading of objectives. Horizontal alignment between peer units is achieved by integrating shared objectives. I will present practical steps for vertical alignment in this column and the horizontal alignment techniques in the next. We use four stages to achieve vertical alignment or cascading. First, we define the organizational position by clarifying where a business unit fits in horizontally and vertically. What is its relationship to the units below and above? Does it have to collaborate with any peer units? Second, we create an alignment action agenda to implement cascading and integration. Third, we use appropriate tools to action it and finally drive a communication plan to sustain the alignment efforts. With alignment, leaders can create tremendous value for the organization in terms of building synergies, better resource utilization, deeper understanding of employee regular work to strategy and increased communication effectiveness.

With alignment, leaders can create tremendous value for the organization in terms of building synergies, better resource utilization, deeper understanding of employee regular work to strategy and increased communication effectiveness AUGUST 2020 |

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Formal communication up and down the enterprise will help sustain the vertical alignment efforts

Corporate role in the cascading process depends upon corporate type Cascading Approach

Passive Role (Holding Company)

Active Role (Holding Company)

TATA Group SBI Private Equity Firm

Wipro

Mahindra Holidays

Cafe Coffee Day

Tata Motors

L e a d e r s hi p

Four stages to cascading

By cascading strategy map and scorecards to various levels, the top management can enable alignment of activities to the core strategic objectives of the higher units. That way, leaders at each level support the overall enterprise vision. Stage 1 What’s your organi-

zational position?

Where does your SBU fit in the vertical chain of

Independent

Taj Hotels

HPCL

Linked Cascading Method

command? You can start with checking if your oganization resembles functionally singular or integrated, or purely a fund allocator. Which business units do you report to and which ones report to you? Check also for similar role business units. Whether they are like the branches of

Identical Source: CustomerLab

a bank or completely different roles based on lines of business. The above diagram will give you an idea on the position of organization and possible cascading method, with indicative examples. Stage 2 What’s your action

plan?

An action plan to cascade should cover the following: Intended time frame by which the cascading of scorecards should be completed, the way in which the subordinate scorecards are made (one at a time or together?) and the degree of independence to be given to each SBU in developing the cascaded scorecards. In any case, the following elements of the scorecards are mandatory for all subordinate ones: themes, objectives, metrics and initiatives that are handed down from the enterprise strategy 136

| AUGUST 2020


Objective cascade methods overview Corporate

Business Unit

Identical

Same objectives

Contributory

Translated, but congruent objectives

New

Unique objectives that do not link directly to the parent Source: CustomerLab

Stage 3 What techniques to

use?

What best cascading technique is suited for the cascading depends on the process of identifying mandatory elements required for each Strategic Business Unit (SBU) and subunits. The three techniques we use are Shared, Contributory and Hybrid, and each of these will have the cascading as shown in the above picture. In the shared technique, typically if you are a bank or hotel, the objectives at the corporate level will be almost identical and will be mandatory. For example, most of the objectives and metrics of a hotel group like the Taj will be shared across its various properties but targets will vary.

In the contributory technique, each cascaded scorecard contains translated but congruent objectives that clearly support the larger enterprise objective. This technique is used when fewer scorecard elements have been mandated, but the higher organization still

AUGUST 2020 |

L e a d e r s hi p

along with some elements of corporate values, etc.

wants to enforce clear lines of alignment. An example of a translated objective is an HR scorecard. HR contributes to the overall business objective of “retain high performance talent” through an internal process objective called "recruit quality employees.” This objective provides a much more specific description of how HR contributes. In the hybrid technique, some objectives are shared with those on the larger enterprise's scorecard. Others are not identical, but are translated, or new customized for the SBU. The hybrid technique is used when very few scorecard elements have been mandated. To support a corporate objective to “sustain the business”, HR may have an objective of “building excel-

137


L e a d e r s hi p

Example of a cascaded scorecard

lence in training programs” while IT department may have “reducing downtime of systems” as an objective. The above figure depicts a cascaded scorecard that has used all the techniques. Stage 4 How do you sustain the cascading?

Formal communication up and down the enterprise will help sustain the vertical alignment efforts, and for this, common objectives between the enterprise and your SBU as well as yours and those of the subordinate business units will play a key role. Even if there is a leadership change, the continuity will not be lost. 138

| AUGUST 2020

The communication must be ongoing and systematic. When we work with clients, we provide guidance on holding periodic approval meetings and performance review meetings. In fact, we conduct a few of these meetings ourselves to make them form a habit. In the approval meetings, which could be monthly or quarterly, we get the leaders directly one-above to ensure that the SBU’s scorecard continues to stay aligned with the enterprise scorecard. The review meetings are conducted with subordinate business units to ensure that their scorecards are aligned with the SBU

and also to show commitment to the cascading process. Cascading drives the enterprise to achieve alignment vertically. However, the horizontal alignment will require another process called Integration. Same-level business units within your enterprise can coordinate the objectives through integration and shared objectives, which we shall discuss in the next column.

Muneer, as Managing Director of CustomerLab Solutions and Co-Founder of the non-profit Medici Institute, helps organizations align strategy with people and processes. Contact him at muneer@ customerlab.biz


Shaakun Khanna

Dive into the new normal What organizations need to consider as they operate after the ‘Great Reset’

T

The world of work is looking at a #newnormal. As the #newnormal is unveiling itself, the work, worker, and workplace are getting belted up for the next phase of adaptation, transformation, and eventually growth. According to Fortune 500 CEO Survey1, 26 percent of fortune 500 CEOs say that 90 percent of their workforce will NEVER return to their usual workplace. Hence, there is a lot of ambiguity around what is this new normal and how it will impact the world of work. While every organization function right from marketing to CSR, is witness-

ing new demands at work, HR is taking one of the most central roles in these ‘‘return to work’’ conversations. Talent and culture are at the forefront in this process of recalibration. Return to the workplace will be slow, staggered, and deliberate and before the enterprises ‘Dive-off ’ into the new normal, they will need to reset the workplace for the returning workforce. Organizations irrespective of their size and sector must look at the following 4 imperatives for a successful DIVE: • Digital resilience • Intelligence ecosystem • Values driven business • Empathy

The N e w Workplace

he future that all the organizations were preparing for has changed its course and the world of work is undergoing the biggest disruption ever. The change in the external environment pushed organizations across the globe to face unparalleled challenges. Organizations did rise up to the occasion and rapidly responded by adapting to the changing environment. However, what started as a temporary adjustment to the way of working has mutated into a permanent change in the nature of the workforce and workplace.

1. Digital resilience: Irrespective of industry, function, or geography, digital has become the default mode of delivering experience for almost everything today. Even the most human of tasks like teaching, counseling, and even celebrations are now being delivered digitally. Under #newnormal, organizations must assess where they are on the AUGUST 2020 |

139


easy platform for tracking, managing, and preventing the spread of the disease across the employee base. UST Global is looking at deploying new solutions in the areas of cyber security which will allow employees to work in a safe environment, even from their homes. UST Global is investing heavily to create an infrastructure to support remote working for a longer time.2

tal strategy that will enable them to create the culture of responsiveness, agility, empathy, and compassion in the #newnormal UST Global, a multinational provider of Digital technology and transformation, IT services and solutions, managed to get their workforce remotely in less than 24 hours, as they had digital infrastructure in place. They opted for incident management solution that works in sync with their existing HCM Cloud and provides a robust and | AUGUST 2020

2. Intelligence ecosystem: As the workplace keeps on evolving, more and more employee interactions will happen in the virtual world. Navigating the nuances of such a hybrid workplace will require new paradigms of intelligence. From a talent perspective, businesses will now need people who have high degrees of both cognitive and emotional intelligence. The ability to utilize both acumens together and understanding the art of switching between them will be the single biggest asset

The N e w Workplac e

Resilience Readiness Maturity from a digital perspective and then take a call to invest in the right digital strategy. And digitalization is not just about automating processes or enabling work from home; it is about leveraging the digital ecosystem to transform the culture of the organization, in a phased manner, to become a truly ‘’resilient organization’’. Leaders, therefore, must decide on a digi-

140

that humans will bring to the table. Artificial intelligence will need to be deployed wherever possible to ensure that systems are extracting relevant insights proactively to ensure that leaders are focusing on where it matters the most. Lastly, cultural intelligence will need to be developed in leaders as more and more aspects of diversity will be visible in the new world of flexi-working. In order to augment human, emotional, and cultural intelligence under #newnormal, the leaders would need to put state of the art AI in place. Uflex, a leader in the packaging industry, is using intelligence right from the factory floor into their enterprise applications. They are working on more projects to expand the digital purview beyond the shop floor. They are in the process of implementing human capital management or HCM solutions. 3. Value-driven business: From embracing diversity to boycotting irresponsible products and companies, the #newnormal is bringing values to the forefront of decision making. Organizations must operate from core fundamental values that are rooted in ecological sustainability and social inclusion. Valuedriven business will be the preferred choice for customers and employees alike. HR will need to be the torchbearer and a constant guide


to business leaders on the following three dimensions of value-based business: a. What is socially and ethically important b. What is economically viable, and c. What is environmentally conducive

4. Empathy: Making a positive difference to the lives of people is the fundamental deliverable of true leadership; and this has never been more difficult than in the current times. Faced with the roller-coaster emotional turbulence in both personal and professional lives, employees today, are sub-consciously seeking compassion and empathy more than ever. Empathy from the organization and leadership is highly required

Making a positive difference to the lives of people is the fundamental deliverable of true leadership. And this has never been more difficult than in the current times in these times since “the goal is to refocus individuals away from trauma and towards a better future for themselves and the business as well” (Mckinsey). According to a study conducted by TCS, “Attending to the physical and emotional well-being of the workforce has become essential to running a financially healthy business”. RBL, one of India’s fastest-growing private sector banks and with nearly 6,000 workers, was finding it difficult to care for the well-being of such a large number of employees under current circumstances. The bank opted for an extra module in addition to the Cloud HCM, that they were using. The module gives the bank the ability to track and

manage health and safety matters within its organization. Employees can quickly report health-related incidents or concerns from their mobile or desktop devices and administrators can communicate follow-up steps. Although seemingly dangerous, diving is actually a relatively safe sport when conducted sensibly. And as organizations ‘‘DIVE’’ into the new normal, ensuring the right Digital Resilience, Intelligence ecosystem, Vales and Empathy will ensure that they come out safe and stronger in what will possibly go down in history as the ‘‘great reset’’.

The N e w Workplace

Save the Children is a 100-year-old NGO whose primary mission is to reach out to marginalized children and their families in India. One key factor that goes unnoticed with such institutions is that they are evolving themselves unceasingly, without altering their basic values. Be it technology innovation; or innovation in their operations; or how they manage their resources such as their people; or how they keep track of children they enrolled in schools after being saved from labor; or how they use data analytics to cull out commonalities and trends for them to develop new programs.

Shaakun Khanna is the Head HCM Applications, APAC at Oracle AUGUST 2020 |

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Past Month's events

Knowledge + Networking

When Culture Meets Crisis

142

People Matters & Workplace from Facebook 23rd July 2020 Online It has become increasingly difficult to ignore the need for businesses to shift from otherwise traditional means of communication and collaboration, online. This need has been exacerbated by the recent crisis and the result of a dispersed workforce. Yet, more than eight out of ten of companies who try, fail, simply because they don’t adequately know how. Moving your business online and building an organization culture digitally does not have to be intimidating. Understand the importance of having open communication, building a connected culture and collaborating virtually. The panel discussed about the best practices and advice on deepening your engagement with your team, keeping them informed and productive even when you’re apart together.

| AUGUST 2020

Technology: HR's Best Bet for Transformation amidst the COVID-19 Crisis People Matters & Akrivia Cohort 23rd July 2020 Online Businesses the world over are finding themselves in an unfamiliar environment on account of COVID-19. Hence HR leaders are entrusted with a graver's responsibility to ready themselves to adapt to the changing world of work before they ready the workforce. In this age of accelerated digital transformation, how can HR leaders leverage technology to power their own reinvention on a daily basis? How can technology be leveraged to bring about a mindset shift in HR? To reflect on the question and to discuss how technology can be leveraged effectively for this mindset shift amidst the COVID-19 crisis, People Matters and Akrivia have organized this roundtable discussion. We dived into the strategic role that technology will play in the transformation of HR in and post this crisis and how HR leaders can leverage it for transforming their daily job roles for gearing up for changing the world of work.

How are GICs leading the talent strategy in the new normal People Matters & Skillsoft 9th July 2020 Online GICs are seen as great value additions to their parent companies. However, due to the unprecedented changes brought about by the new normal of work along with the digital disruption in industries worldwide, the role of Indian GICs needs to evolve. The current crisis does present an opportunity for the GICs to leverage on their resilience and reinvent themselves. Human resource priorities are likely to be focused on upskilling, digital preparedness of the workforce, enhancing manager maturity, and acquisition of talent with the requisite digital skills to service an expanded portfolio. In this cohort by People Matters and Skillsoft, we deliberated upon how GICs can become a world-class talent hub, upskill their workforce for the future and continue to be the center of efficiency in this new world of work.


Upcoming events People Matters TechHR India 2020

Awards - Are You In The List 2020? People Matters 8 August 2020 Online As we enter into 2020, the beginning of a new decade, a lot is expected to change. Business models will change, the way we work will change, and technological shifts will transform every facet of how we work. More than ever now, organizations need leaders who can be agile, lead the change, and be the answer to everything related to People and Work. ''People Matters Are you in the List 2020? Awards'' in association with DDI for the 9th year in the row, along with Behavioral Learning Partner Harappa Education aims to identify these very emerging HR leaders who can become the answer to the challenges in the People and Workspace.

People Matters 7- 11 September 2020 Online People Matters TechHR encourages and empowers our community to try new things, to learn along the way, and to find answers. If we are able to solve enough problems not only do we get to survive as businesses BUT we also get to redefine distinctiveness and business value for our organizations and our industry. This year’s theme is AdaptableHR: The Great Reset underscores the fact that the new reality is vastly different and the RESET that was needed earlier has transformed into a GREAT RESET at all levels of the business. HR needs to be adaptable as never before. We must realize that this is a journey and not a destination or project that will ever be completed. And to do that, we’re going to need to have the courage to be openminded and flexible, able to listen to other people with understanding and empathy, be keen to learn, be resilient and be willing to face uncertainty and challenge.

Digital HR Summit 2020 Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management 8th August 2020 to 6th September 2020 Airmeet In turbulent times, making a decision can be nervewracking. If you act too slowly, the business might go under. A bold bluff too soon and you might lose the queen. As the situation nears semblance of normalcy, business leaders will find ways to recalibrate strategies and keep the engine running.To recalibrate the business compass, HR Summit 2020, an annual conclave hosted by SIOM, aims to provide a platform for sharing best practices, insights, industry experiences, and the latest breakthroughs in

Knowledge + Networking

People Matters 10 - 14 August 2020 Online In business-as-unusual, there is no playbook to follow, there are no experts to guide, there are no tried and tested methods. This time, at People Matters TechHR India Virtual Conference 2020we will encourage and empower our community to try new things, to learn along the way, and to find answers. If we are able to solve enough problems not only do we get to survive as businesses BUT we also get to redefine distinctiveness and business value for our organizations and our industry. This year’s theme, AdaptableHR: The Great Reset underscores the fact that the new reality is vastly different and the RESET that was needed earlier has transformed into a GREAT RESET at all levels of the business. With 100+ learning hours, and 5000+ HR and Business leaders joining us from around the globe and star speakers, witness greatness at its best.

People Matters TechHR Singapore 2020

the field of HR. The main theme in focus is 'The Unprecedented Routes: Continuity Amidst Chaos. With some great business leaders like Anil Bhasin - President, Havells India, Dr. Dinesh Kumar Murugesan - Country Head HR, DSM, Suraju Dutta - Joint MD, Delhivery, Capt. Pranav Prasoon - Head HR, Renault India, Indrani Chatterjee - CHRO, AllCargo Logistics, Sanjay Srivastava - Director HR, Boehringer Ingelheim, Nandini Mehta - VP HR, Landmark Group, Hari T.N - Head HR, Bigbasket, join us and be a part of this journey scheduled from 8th August 2020 to 6th September 2020, every weekend through digital platform Airmeet. For registration & more information visit: www.hrsummit.siom.in AUGUST 2020 |

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Blogosphere

>> Bianca D'Costa

Mental health is everyone’s business b lo g o s p he r e

Why constant and consistent practices to improve mental well-being are essential at the workplace

144

I

was a flight attendant in one of the best international airlines for half a decade before moving into the start-up world. It seems glamorous I know, but it is a very lonely job. Meeting new people every day doesn’t make for long-lasting friendships and hectic schedules inhibit the efforts made to stay in touch. The job involves many meals eaten alone, many days spent without speaking to family back home because of the time differences and the jet lag, which is something we never get over. Understanding the effects this can have on our mental health, my organization invested in hiring in-house psychologists and counselors. They even made the effort to create a group called ‘’Peer to Peer’’ in case we were more comfortable speaking to our colleagues. The members of Peer to Peer were colleagues who | AUGUST 2020

Since employees spend the majority of their time in the workplace, tackling their mental health issues is of utmost importance had chosen to volunteer and were trained accordingly. This to me translated as being part of an organization that truly cared about my overall well-being. Mental Health has made its way to conversations over the years, especially in this time of COVID-19. Working from home has become the new norm and albeit its benefits, it has blurred the lines between signing in and out of work. Balancing home without house help,

reduction in salaries, layoffs and other factors have contributed to the decline of the mental well-being of employers and employees.

How does mental health affect the organization? 1 out of 7 people in India suffers from mental illness according to a study by The Lancet. Since we spend the majority of our time in the workplace, tackling the mental health of employees is imperative. While opening the conversation for diversity at work, acknowledging that mental health is as important, allows you to retain your employees, cuts costs of employees shuffling in and out and saves on retraining. But just talking about mental health without tangible action is like talking about exercise without ever moving a muscle.


The economic cost of not addressing mental health

A study by PubMed.Gov showed work related stress can be a huge financial burden on society. This study took into account Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the EU-15. The total estimated cost of financial loss ranged between US$ 221.13 Mn to $187 Bn. The interesting aspect was that the majority of these losses were productivity related and a small percentage of the losses were due to health care and medical costs. Although this study did not include India, the WHO has estimated that India stands to lose $1.03 Tn be-

tween 2012-2030 due to mental health conditions.

How organizations can embrace mental health

Focus on mental health being the need of the hour, here are some suggestions you can incorporate in your organization to cater to the mental well-being of your employees:

Bringing in regular professional help may not always be feasible for organizations. In such situations, employees can volunteer and get training to guide their colleagues • Peer to peer support: Bringing in regular professional help may not always be feasible for organizations. In such situations, employees can volunteer or ask employees you believe are equipped with a high EQ to volunteer, and become part of a team that is available to other employees to speak to. These volunteer employees can be trained by a professional to listen and guide their colleagues.

• Support groups: Support groups with confidentiality clauses every month is another way to include the mental health of your employees into the work culture. • Awareness conversations: Many Indian organizations hold awareness weeks which include mindfulness and stress management workshops. Nitesh Batra of The Mindful Initiative highlighted how private organizations with proven practices such as Mindfulness Based Interventions, Compassion Cultivation Training can provide monthly content to make it a continued conversation and practice. • Building regular awareness on Mental Health by bringing in professionals in the field to explain the cause, symptoms and effects of mental illness. This will create awareness and allow employers and employees to learn to look for the signs and identify them. In-house or contractual psychologists would be another resource. • Recreational content: Some workspaces have gyms and other recreational areas. Yoga and breathing lessons in these spaces are a good way to help employees cope with stress.

b lo g o sp he r e

Many organizations have workshops once or twice a year on mental well-being or give employees a helpline number for additional support, these are bandaid methods and shift the onus of looking after one’s mental health entirely onto the employee. Constant and consistent practices to improve mental well-being are essential. When unaddressed in organizations, the effects are counterproductive - hurting productivity at work and increasing absenteeism. It is thus of economic value to invest in the mental health of your employees.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Bianca D'Costa works with Serein as a Research and Marketing Associate AUGUST 2020 |

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REFERENCES Management Research, Volume 2 Issue 1, 2012. 10. Visty Banaji, Gaming Goals Can Kill Businesses, People Matters, 25 November 2019, (https:// www.peoplematters. in/article/life-at-work/ gaming-goals-can-killbusinesses-23839).

122 Draining the (training) swamp 1. AndrĂŠ Spicer, From inboxing to thought showers: how business bullshit took over, The Guardian, 23 November 2017.

6. Natalie Wolchover, Firewalking Physics: The Wrong Way to Walk on Hot Coals, Live Science, 25 July 2012.

2. Sharan B Merriam, Adult Learning Theory: Evolution and Future Directions, PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning, Vol. 26, 2017, 21-37.

7. Geoffrey James, Why Do CEOs Fall for Dumb Management Fads? Inc., 15 August 2018.

3. Darren A Smith, Say No to One Day Training Courses, Making Business Matter, 12 February 2015. 4. W Thalheimer, How Much Do People Forget? WorkLearning Research, Inc., December 2010. 5. Danny Miller and Jon Hartwick, Spotting Management Fads, Harvard Business Review, October 2002. 146

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8. Visty Banaji, Pyrrho, please pay another visit A DIY kit for sniffing out BS in HR, People Matters, 23rd March 2017, (https:// www.peoplematters.in/ article/strategic-hr/ pyrrho-please-pay-anothervisit-a-diy-kit-for-sniffingout-bs-in-hr-15175). 9. Rama Devi and Nagurvali Shaik, Evaluating training & development effectiveness - A measurement model, Asian Journal of

11. Visty Banaji, The GIGantic opportunity of the shrinking corporation, People Matters, 28th May 2019, (https://www. peoplematters.in/article/ gig-economy/the-giganticopportunity-of-the-shrinking-corporation-21828).

139 Dive into the new normal 1. https://fortune.com/ 2020/05/14/fortune-500-ceosurvey-coronavirus-pandemic-predictions/ 2. https://cio.economictimes. indiatimes.com/news/ strategy-and-management/how-ust-global-istracking-the-health-ofemployees/76397502


Real Time Compliance Management Avoid non-compliances taking place than a post mortem after the damage is done. Organizations have to adhere to many compliances under Labour Law , Factories act & similar laws. By implementing Labourworks you not only send advance Email/SMS notice about a possible non-compliance likely to happen & give an opportunity to the contractor to take corrective actions. But if the corrective action is not taken in time then you can simply block the entry of the worker & avoid non-compliances from taking place in a real time mode. Some of the compliances that can be implemented in real time mode are          

Working without a weekly off Maximum work hours exceeded in a week Contractor Labour License expired Labour License Capacity exceeded Medical Check up not done Induction training not completed Work Order expired Work Order Capacity exceeded Female worker entry during night shift Debarred worker entry

There are many more compliances which can be handled in an offline mode as well. Labourworks™ is an Enterprise Contract Labour Management System which helps you streamline various processes using SPC Methodology™ . SPC Methodology™ are industry best practices in Security , Productivity & Compliances. Organizations have also observed up to 10%* cost reduction on Contractor billing by implementing SPC Methodology™. There are more than 350 installations of Labourworks™. Please call on us today for a live demonstration...

SAP is a registered trademark of SAP AG

020 25281608 / 9326727467 labourworks@scrum-system.com www.scrum-system.com


RNI Details: Vol. XI, Issue No. 8, R.N.I. No. HARENG/2010/33504. Price Per Copy: Rs. 150/- Printed and Published by Mahesh Kumar on behalf of People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Published at 501, 5th Floor, Millennium Plaza, Tower A, Sushant Lok-1, Sector-27, Gurgaon - 122009, Haryana, India. Printed at Polykam Offset, C-138, Phase - I, Naraina Industrial Area, New Delhi - 110028. Editor: Esther Martinez Hernandez

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People Matters: Performance and Rewards in the New Normal - August 2020  

Businesses globally were in a turmoil when the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading its wings throughout the world. They faced unprecedented...

People Matters: Performance and Rewards in the New Normal - August 2020  

Businesses globally were in a turmoil when the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading its wings throughout the world. They faced unprecedented...