SPE C IAL I N TERVIEW
IMF to continue that education process. More than that, there are conversations in departments and smaller teams about race, bias, and privilege. I am grateful that we have opened that space for people to talk about their experiences so that we all understand what others may have experienced and that strengthens our commitment to do whatever we can to prevent such actions from continuing.
others. But even in the roles that require more face-toface contact, technology can help. For example, many of us are now visiting doctors virtually. Tech companies can play a huge role in spreading digital infrastructure, access to devices, and access to content. They should be incentivized to expand access including in developing countries. In fact, this is in their interest, because it can create
Since a lot of the new ways of working have to do with behaviors, HR is really ground zero for suggesting how things could be different. We see ourselves as a catalyst who sets policies, gives guidance, and provides incentives COVID-19 seems to be accelerating digital transformation in the workplace across industries. Do you see a new tech infrastructure in the making that will help economies rebound after COVID-19? Those who have access to technology—the so-called white-collar workers—have been able to work from home and are better off during the pandemic. So what role can technology play in the future? There will always be roles where some jobs lend themselves to benefiting from technology more than | october 2020
more consumers for their services. If we can broaden technology infrastructure for better access to finance, healthcare, education, and information, that would be a game-changing possibility in the world ahead. Also, building and more creatively using more digital infrastructure has the potential for building a more climatefriendly economy. We have heard the slogan “Building Back Better”. I think the goal of universal access to digital technology will be the cornerstone of that strategy.
How do you see the overall role of HR and people managers evolving amid the pandemic? What is your advice for global HR and talent leaders as they prepare for the post-pandemic world? The first attribute has to be humility. Nobody knows what's ahead. Leaders need to have humility, courage and self-confidence to admit that we don't know. Leaders also have to promise to do several things. The first is to communicate clearly and often, about what we do know, and what actions we will take to address the uncertainties we face. Second, leaders need to have the courage to make decisions without complete knowledge of what the future holds but also to be agile in pivoting and adapting as new information becomes available. We will be the ones who push managers and leaders throughout our organizations to think positive, to push past the old practices even if they had been successful, and to keep people at the center of the whole exercise. This pandemic has shown how vulnerable we all are. So, for whatever we do, we should keep in mind that people are our biggest resource while balancing it with serving our clients. In the end, we cannot serve our clients well if we don't serve our staff. That is why HR becomes central to the whole effort, even if it is not the only ingredient.