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VOL XI / ISSUE 9 / SEPTEMBER 2020

BIG INTERVIEW Anja Hamilton Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Poly

The never-before scenario of job losses globally makes it imperative to step up to the challenge of building a better future of work, together SPECIAL INTERVIEW Clarke Murphy CEO, Russell Reynolds Associates (New York)


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When unemployment is off the charts!

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hroughout history, there have been circumstances that affected the employment prospects of individuals and their well-being at work. The one caused by COVID19 has caused significant disruption to employment — from massive job losses to radical changes in how businesses manage their workforces. The speed and scale of the job losses are in a never before scenario triggered by this coronavirus pandemic. In just three months, the word has lost almost 400 million full-time jobs as the virus itself kept up its relentless spread. As | SEPTEMBER 2020

companies grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, more layoffs and pay cuts news are flaring up. While businesses hoping to regain their lost momentum are working hand-inglove to thrive amid the rising uncertainty by revisiting their business strategies, we are witness to a much broader swath of unemployment following the initial impact of lockdowns on a few industries. Job losses have affected every major industry including the leisure and hospitality sector; even the healthcare sector shed more than a million jobs in the U.S. The global tourism industry, which alone lost $320 billion in the first five months of the year, has more than 120 million jobs at risk according to the U.N. chief. Early findings of the World Economic Forum’s upcoming Future of Jobs 2020 Report suggest some similarities with the 2018 edition of the report where they found that on average 10 percent of jobs would be displaced and that job destruction will be offset by a set of emerging professions. In fact, projections by ILO suggest that the labor market recovery during the second half of 2020 will be uncertain and incomplete. As unemployment claims keep pouring in and job losses continue to batter the economy, it’s time to reim-

agine jobs – especially for those hardly-hit and protect the world’s most vulnerable workers. So, how do organizations get their current and future workforce to prepare for the new normal in the post-pandemic days? Because COVID-19, which started as a health pandemic, will have long-lasting ramifications to the way we live and work. One thing is certain – digital is an imperative for the future of business and hence structuring jobs and reimagining new business models for the digital era will be critical to thrive in the future. It behooves businesses to zero down on skills that drive outcomes and ensure that the right skill is being learned over the lifecycle. This is the time to roll out initiatives to enable reskilling and upskilling for organizations and individuals to bounce back stronger equipped with data and digital skills required of the workforce of the future. This calls for large scale community collaboration of businesses, workers’ associations, and governments. The cover story of this issue takes a look at the larger job landscape scenario and how organizations and workers should prepare them for the post-pandemic times by learning new skills. For the Big Interview in this issue, we have Anja


Come, join the People Matters TechHR 2020 Singapore week from 7th-11th September to focus on finding answers for both the now and the next. As part of TechHR Singapore 2020, you will have the Adaptable HR Certification Program which encompasses masterclasses from designing a crisis resistant culture to building a playbook to design the employee experience for NOW of work to reimagining performance and growth. You will also have People Matters TechHR Singapore Startup Program 2020. You will also have the opportunity to join trailblazing leaders like Guy Kawasaki, Amazon Web Services’ Annella Heytens, Jason Averbook, Capgemini’s Aruna Jayanthi, and many others who will guide us 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.

THE COVER STORY (BEHIND THE SCENE)

From the Editor’s Desk

Hamilton, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Poly, who shares some insights on how the organization is adapting to the changing times in terms of remote working, business continuity, and employee well-being. We also have a special interview with Clarke Murphy, CEO, Russell Reynolds Associates (New York), who talks about why sustainable leadership is no longer a “nice to have” but a critical business imperative, increasingly recognized by all stakeholders around the world. This issue also features the winners of People Matters The Are You In The List 2020 Winners. We have a special feature on unemployment and hiring sentiments which analyzes the hiring and unemployment data across the major economies and how the next six months look like. The current COVID-19 crisis calls for rewriting the HR tech and Worktech playbook. How do we do that? People Matters TechHR 2020 comes back again with our South East Asia Edition, 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.

Stop, Wait, Go? NICE!

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

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

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contents

september 2 0 2 0 volume xi issue 9

56 cover story

Joel Fastenberg, Head of Human Resources for Singapore and

46

ASEAN, Citi

60

OECD’s Andreas Schleicher on skills & jobs Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, OECD

It's time to future-proof your workforce for the digital era

64

Leaders need to harness uncertainty

68

In times of crisis, talent reveals itself

Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and a partner at The RBL Group

David Michels, Partner, Senior Partner and the Global Leader for Results Delivery, Bain

By Mastufa Ahmed 73 48

C O N TE N TS

Partner, Ernst & Young Tax Consultants Sdn Bhd

78

Analyst at World Economic Forum 51

Tan Lay Keng, EY Asean People Advisory Services Leader;

Employers, associations, and governments should collaborate to scope out redeployment of displaced workers Dr. Vesselina Ratcheva, Senior Data-Driven Researcher and

Employers and government should work together to bounce back stronger

Dominic Salomoni, Director, Commerce of Robert Walters

Jobs involving tech are likely to be in greater demand

Singapore 82

DeLisa Alexander, Executive Vice President, and Chief People

Officer at Red Hat

It will take a while for some sectors to improve hiring to pre-pandemic levels COVID-19, the final wakeup call for all!

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

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the big Interview

special interview

Our focus is on creating an employeefirst culture

Change starts at the top Clarke Murphy, CEO, Russell

Reynolds Associates (New York) By Yasmin Taj

Anja Hamilton, Executive Vice

President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Poly 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

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

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Anushree Sharma Bhavna Sarin

Senior Associates, Content

Manager, design, photography, and production

Shweta Modgil

Mint Kang

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

| SEPTEMBER 2020

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

People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Published at

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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 134 pages including cover


16 Ne w s F e a ture

Are you in the list

Unemployment and hiring sentiments: The first six months

94

By Anushree SharmA

96 Yamini Koganti, Assistant Vice President - HR, Swiggy 96 Noopur Bhandari, HR Business Partner, Signify Innovations India Limited (erstwhile Philips Lighting)

26 S tr a te g i c H R

How people managers can adopt Design Thinking to re-engage their distressed workforce

97 Swati Panigrahi, Manager - Learning and Development, Titan Company Limited 97 Malvika Assija, Manager - HR, Nestle India Ltd.

By Dr. Pavan Soni, Founder & Innovation Evangelist, Inflexion Point Consulting

98 Harleen Sodhi, Practice Lead - HR, Infosys Ltd.

36 E xp a t Wor k

98 Shivani Nehru, HR Representative, People and Communities, Cisco

The Future of Global Work

‘Being honest helps ease the message about low or no pay rises’

Paul Johnstone, Head of Global Benefits, Orange Business Services, United Kingdom By Bhavna Sarin

TechHR India

110 Being at the forefront of change with People Matters TechHR India Startup Program 2020

88 I N T E R V I E W

Adaptability and empathy are key to sail through uncertain times

Videh Jaipuriar, Chief Executive Officer at Delhi International Airport By Yasmin Taj 101 E mplo y ee Well - B ei n g

Put people first and reach higher

Raj Karunakaran, HR Head, Cargill India By Abid Hasan

By Drishti Pant

118 T h e ro a d less tr a velle d

Learn – Earn – Return

By Visty Banaji, Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC) 122 T h e Ne w Wor k pl a c e

106 B usi n ess S tr a te g y

Horizontal alignment for strategy execution

By Dr. M. Muneer, MD of CustomerLab Solutions and Co-Founder of the non-profit Medici Institute, helps organizations align strategy with people and processes

100 Steffina Lincy, Deputy General Manager - HR, Reliance Industries

Why we need to engage in agendaless conversation

By Vidyut Lata Dhir, Professor Leadership, Organizational Behaviour & Design Thinking, Bhavan’s SPJIMR, Mumbai; Vikal Kapoor, Co-founder and CEO at Stateset; Madhura Gondhalekar, Research Associate, Bhavan’s SPJIMR

C O N TE N TS

Rethinking work design for a sustainable reset to the world of work

By Vidisha Mehta, Managing Director and Talent & Rewards Leader, Singapore, Willis Towers Watson

100 Rajat Sethi, Group Manager - Rewards, Performance and Organization Design, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited

By Shweta Modgil

84 T h e Ne w Wor k pl a c e

99 Sakshi Gupta, HR Director, Grail Insights Private Limited

Are You In The List 2020 Winners

42 I N T E R V I E W

99 Monalisha, Human Resources Business Partner, Flipkart

Who all made it to the list?:

By Joyce Jenkins, Research conducted by M. T. Claes, J. Jenkins, W. Ritter, J. Vegh

124 L e a r n i n g & Developme n t

The learning frame and interdisciplinary thinking

By Vinodh Chelambathodi, Architect—Futuristic HR Practices and CHRO—Financial Software and Systems

regulars

04 From the Editor’s Desk 08 Letters of the month 10 Quick Reads 15 Rapid Fire 128 Knowledge + Networking 130 Blogosphere Featured In this issue Andreas Schleicher Anja Hamilton Clarke Murphy Dave Ulrich David Michels DeLisa Alexander Dominic Salomoni

Joel Fastenberg Paul Johnstone Raj Karunakaran Sainursalwa Sani Tan Lay Keng Dr. Vesselina Ratcheva Videh Jaipuriar

CONTRIBUTORS to this issue Clinton Wingrove Joyce Jenkins Dr. Kalpana Sahoo Dr. Lalatendu Kesari Jena Madhura Gondhalekar Dr. M. Muneer Dr. Pavan Soni

Priyanka Bhowmik Vidisha Mehta Vidyut Lata Dhir Vikal Kapoor Vinodh Chelambathodi Visty Banaji

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Letters of the month

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Performance and rewards in the new normal

Performance management is among the most required to be spoken about but turns out to be the least discussed aspect of adapting to a new working life. In fact, not just managing performance, but setting the right performance expectations. Defining goals is one of the key steps in managing and eventually measuring employee performance, but in the current scenario with double the expectations, and half the workforce have we looked at goals? There are conversations around rewarding employees who have performed beyond expectations in these times of trouble. But when were these expectations set? Does beyond expectation mean performance surpassing the goals set back in 2019? Or is performance beyond perceived, not stated, expectations that differ from person to person? Are we going to be assessing employees on goals and performance or on the basis of how often did they make themselves available beyond the times they were needed to? Performance expectations today are highly skewed. If left checked, organizations stand to lose a lot more than just cash flow and talent. - Pratyush Mohanty

‘Talent pool is now a global one’

Quite an insight on the need to not just rethink workforce structure, but rather go a step further and think about the extended workforce like the permanent employees are thought about, from an inclusion and policy perspective. The very fact that several roles are about to become redundant, it goes without saying that the massive number of layoffs cannot be redeployed back into the workforce with their existing skillset. The time they take to acquire new skills, and at the same time how organizations adapt to a fluid workforce structure will generate greater opportunities for such employees and the existing contractor, or gig workforce, and clearly, these opportunities will not be restricted by geographical boundaries. With the need for organizations to save on costs, it will not be on this segment of the workforce to look for opportunities, rather organizations will need to strategize on how to attract, engage and retain the fluid staff. - Shibam Koley

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| SEPTEMBER 2020

august 2020 issue

Women, please say NO

Being crushed between both home and work, while some women have been able to bring about that balance through support from family and an accommodating workplace, many continue being exploited owing to their gender imposed responsibilities. The limited but visible progress of women in the community has taken generations, years, and several conversations to arrive at. However, if we now begin slipping back into what we grew away from, this time it isn’t just opportunities at the workplace, but like brought out in this article, there stands a threat to the basic health, safety and education of the female population, be it a six-year old child, a thirty-year old corporate employee or a fifty-year old healthcare professional. - Kana Maher


Interact with People Matters

WFH 101: What happens when IT is in lockdown

- Bhavesh Parmar

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

Mobilizing the organization is core to sustaining operations and people. It is crucial to make mobility a critical factor in deciding the way forward. Sectors like education, sports, retail, and many others that depended and were built on the grounds of people coming together in large gatherings have to figure out ways to become mobile and provide accessibility to the same set of people, digitally. Adapting is one aspect, but more than adapting we now need to evolve if we want to stay relevant and in business. - Saptak Sarkar

‘Employee assessments must be based on reasonable performance expectations’

Several organizations if not all, have assumed that with the commute time being removed from an employee’s daily routine, employees must dedicate those hours to extra work, not realizing that those commute hours were over and above the working hours that an employee put in every day, it is not something an employee per se owns to the organization. Additionally, as unprecedented as the times are for organizations, they are equally unprecedented, if not more, for employees in their personal lives. - Tulika Banerjee

Redeploying talent post COVID-19

I found the Deloitte breakdown of the strategy into three segments quite interesting what work can be automated (automation level), who will do the work (talent category), where is the work done (physical distance). It helps streamline thinking and efforts and serves as a guiding pillar to reflect on as we make decisions for the future of work, workforce, and workplace. Rightly brought out, while some jobs and industries Java become even more essential, possibly leading to the creation of greater job opportunities in those pockets, at the same time one cannot ignore the fact that quite a few jobs are edging towards becoming redundant. Such possibilities might lead to greater fear of losing jobs in the workforce. - Smruti Ranjan Das

Gautam Srivastava @GautamS_01 People Matters always up the game in hosting Tech HR and this year is transformational in converting gigantic spaces of convention hall into a virtual medium. Interactive and intuitive . Hats off to @Ester_Matters @PeopleMatters2 #TechHRIN Salil Raheja @salilraheja Grateful for this Journey which started 4 year back and I continue to gain immensely through collective intelligence of this community .Thanks @ Ester_Matters and @PeopleMatters2 #areyouinthelist Mystique Wanderer @MystiqueWanderr That one evening almost a decade back, and that evening every year hence. Thank you @Ester_Matters n @PeopleMatters2 for conceptualizing this. #areyouinthelist Prabhakar L @prabhakarl Hats off @PeopleMatters2 @Ester_ Matters for curating such a brilliant event, executing it so seamlessly that too virtually. A benchmark to be emulated. An exemplar of 'can do, will do' & 'positive mindset'. Heartiest congratulations to all team members. #TechHRIN Anish Aravind @anisharavind Take a bow #TeamPeopleMatters @ PeopleMatters2 - Thanks for allowing #HrCommunity to coauthor #GreatReset based on #Science and #Content for an #AdaptableHR journey of business impact. Best wishes as always. @Ester_Matters @ neelmaz06 @pushkaraj7

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

From a time when I am heading to the IT department to now the IT team having to ensure all systems, network, security, and everything is in place virtually, the role of IT is truly among the most evolved roles in these unprecedented times. Their role has grown tremendously as understanding compatibility and costeffectiveness of the latest collaboration tools and other essential software to keep the business running rests completely on their shoulders. The rising cybersecurity threats and employees accessing organization’s network through personal devices only make their work more critical in these times.

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

Harshita @hungryharshita Can i just take a moment to appreciate the interface of #TechHRIN ? @PeopleMatters2 this is great! I have already connected with so many and waiting to explore more. follow

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SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Compensation & Benefits

Singapore government to extend jobs support scheme

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Singapore's Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the government would be extending its jobs support scheme subsidizing the wages of local workers for another seven months. The scheme, originally set to end in August, has so far involved the disbursement of over S$16 billion (US$11.7 billion) in payouts benefiting some two million work-

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ers across 150,000 firms—a very large proportion of the resident workforce. But with unemployment already having hit record quarterly highs, and projected to continue rising for the rest of the year, the

Jobs

Jobs

1 in 3 UK companies expect to cut jobs in Q3

A third of employers in the UK are preparing for redundancies in the coming months, according to the results of the latest Labor Market Outlook survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Adecco Group. This is one and a half times the number from three months ago (22 percent). The private sector is faring far worse than the public sector: 38 percent of private companies are preparing to cut jobs, compared to 16 percent of public sector employers. The projected job cuts will coincide with the end of the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which was first introduced in March.

| SEPTEMBER 2020

government is extending the scheme to March 2021, albeit at lower levels. In addition, the government is launching initiatives to create more new jobs, in particular for older workers who are at higher risk of retrenchment, and to support firms in increasing their headcount of local workers. Under one such initiative, the government is offering a subsidy of up to 25 percent of salaries of all new local hires for one year, with the co-payment rising to 50 percent for workers aged 40 and above.

Zilingo cuts Singapore and global headcount Fashion commerce and tech

Compensation & Benefits

1/3 of APAC employers have adjusted salary budgets

34 percent of employers across the Asia Pacific region have made changes to salaries as a result of COVID-19, according to the latest Salary Budget Planning Report by Willis Towers Watson. The majority of those changes are negative: 23.5 percent are planning a salary freeze and 13.4 percent are postponing salary increases, a significant increase from 2019's numbers. The report also turned up a marked difference in salary budgets between APAC countries. Japan, Australia, and New Zealand are projected to see the lowest salary growth of 3 percent next year, while India, Pakistan, and Vietnam will see the highest growth of 8.9 percent and above.

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 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.


Funding

Eden Health raises $25M funding

National medical practice Eden Health announced that it has raised $25 million in Series B funding, led by Flare Capital Partners with participation from principals from Stone Point Capital, a private equity firm that focuses on the financial services industry including the HR benefits, insurance and real estate sectors. Existing investors who participated in the Series B round

Hiring activity recovers 5% in July: Report

marginally by five percent in July compared to a month ago amid gradual easing of lockdown relaxations and re-opening of critical industries, according to

Skilling

Singapore to retrain retail, aerospace workers

The Singapore National Employers Federation is preparing to develop

an intensive retraining program for workers from the pandemicdisrupted retail and aerospace sectors so that they can find alternative employment until their original industries recover from

the COVID-19 recession. Together, the two industries employ an estimated 180,000 people in Singapore, although the numbers are likely to continue decreasing as companies lay more people off or simply close their doors.

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Hiring activity in India recovered

Naukri JobSpeak. A month-onmonth hiring deep dive showed key sectors such as recruitment/ employment (37%), media/ entertainment (36 percent) and construction/engineering (27 percent) drove hiring activity in July as compared to June. Industries such as BFSI (16%), auto (14 percent), telecom (13 percent) and IT-Hardware (nine percent) continue to improve in recruitment activities while the IT-Software sector (0%) was flat sequentially. Education/teaching (-22 percent), hospitality (-5 percent) and retail (-2 percent) sectors saw a decline even in sequential comparisons.

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Talent Acquisition

include Greycroft, PJC, Max Ventures, and Aspect Ventures. The oversubscribed round brings Eden Health's total raise to $39M. Eden Health is known for its innovative direct-to-em-

ployer healthcare delivery model, bringing in-person and virtual healthcare together to deliver an exceptional patient experience to the employees of mid-market companies. Eden Health has seen interest from employers and commercial property owners increase by more than 500 percent since the onset of the public health crisis in midMarch, as the health and safety of employees and tenants has become one of the most urgent issues for employers and property owners.

Corporate Wellness Programs

OYO announces employee well-being policies

OYO has rolled out many employee well-being and worklife balance related initiatives to foster growth, happiness and holistic development of its employees. With a focus on well-being and work-life balance, OYO announced that all employees across teams will have a 5-day work week starting August 2020. In addition, a ‘weekend curfew’ will also be implemented where everyone will be encouraged to avoid calls, meetings, and messages on weekends and holidays. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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newsmaker of the month

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The global race for the coronavirus vaccine

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he COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed over 780,000 lives globally as of mid-August 2020. And over the past six months, businesses have shut, travel has been stalled and economies are taking a nosedive. Tackling the virus has been a mammoth exercise of human resource management – from surveillance, containment efforts, collation, and dissemination of data/risk, clinical management, logistics/supply chain management, and psychosocial care. The magic bullet apart from treating infected patients is the hope of a vaccine – that can help re-open businesses, and enable a return back from the “new normal”. The global race for a coronavirus vaccine is an on-going

| SEPTEMBER 2020

effort. According to the Guardian, more than 170 candidate vaccines are being tracked by the World Health Organization, with 138 in the pre-clinical stage, 25 in phase I which tests the vaccines in smallscale safety trials, 15 in phase 2 – where vaccines are tested in expanded safety trials and 7 in phase 3 – where vaccines are tested in large-scale efficacy trials. The timeline that scientists hope to develop a new vaccine is within 12 to 18 months. The race for a vaccine is also an exercise of talent management – from bringing together the best scientists and resources, ensuring coordination of research, and planning for large scale clinical trials – all of which call for exemplary

leadership and planning. Leading the pack of vaccines is Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine that’s now moved to Phase 2 of the trials. And while Russian health authorities have approved a coronavirus vaccine, it is yet to complete clinical trials. In India, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech showed positive results in the phase 1 trials. Many countries are already securing vaccine deals to ensure that their population has access to them, should the trials complete successfully. Despite the effort and resources that are allocated for the vaccine, it's unclear whether the world would have a vaccine. The WHO has repeatedly stated that there may not be a silver bullet. WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there's no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be”. Fast-tracking efforts by compromising on quality checks will rupture the fight against COVID-19. The vaccine race has also helped to shine a light on public investment in health care, the role of pharma and non-pharma funders, and the critical role of publicprivate partnerships and local communities in moving to a COVID-19 free world.


Netflix Content Chief Ted Sarandos appointed as co-CEO

Netflix has named its Content Chief Ted Sarandos as co-CEO, making the 20-year veteran of one of the pioneering streaming video services a clear successor to co-founder Reed Hastings. However, Hastings has no plan to leave the company for at least a decade. Hastings and Sarandos would each work full time as co-CEOs and lead Netflix through these tough times towards a better future.

Citi appoints Lee Lung Nien as South Asia private banking Chairman

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation has announced that Jan Siegmund will be appointed Chief Financial Officer, effective September 1, 2020. Siegmund most recently served as CFO of Automatic Data Processing (ADP), a leading global human capital management technology and service provider. He will succeed Karen McLoughlin, who will continue in the CFO role through August 31, 2020, and will remain with the Company in an advisory role through December 31, 2020.

Astute names Mark Zablan as Chief Executive Officer

Astute, a leading end-to-end customer engagement platform, announced the appointment of Mark Zablan as Chief Executive Officer. Zablan has more than 25 years of experience in executive roles with high-growth SaaS cloud companies in the areas of digital marketing, content management, customer experience (CX), and data platforms. He brings with him a track record of success at B2B technology market leaders, most recently as Chief Reve-

Online investment & wealth management platform Paytm Money announced the appointment of Varun Sridhar, as the new Chief Executive Officer of Paytm Money. He will lead the launch & development of the equity brokerage other than growing the already successful mutual funds, NPS, and Gold services. Under his leadership, the company will continue to simplify, innovate, and bring wealth management products to millions of Indians. He will be reporting to Amit Nayyar, President at Paytm.

Mindtree appoints new Chief Financial Officer

Global technology consulting and services company, Mindtree appoints Vinit Teredesai as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) 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– USA. He has also completed a General Management Program from MIT – Sloan School of Business focusing on strategy, innovation, and technology.

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Jan Siegmund joins Cognizant as CFO

Varun Sridhar joins Paytm Money as CEO

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Citi announced the appointment of Lung Nien LEE as Chairman, South Asia of Citi Private Bank (CPB), effective September 1, 2020. He will be based in Singapore and will report to Steven Lo, Asia Pacific Regional Head of Citi Private Bank and Amol Gupte, ASEAN Head and Citi Country Officer for Singapore.Attracting new, high-quality clients to CPB remains a key component to its growth strategy and Lee will have the primary responsibility to drive business development and new client acquisition says Citi in a statement.

nue Officer at Sitecore, and before that as Adobe’s President of EMEA.

PNB Housing Finance appoints Hardayal Prasad as MD & CEO

PNB Housing Finance announces that following an extensive executive search that considered internal and external candidates, its Board of Directors has appointed Hardayal Prasad as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Hardayal Prasad is a seasoned banker with experience in banking, international operations, and the credit card industry. He will assume the position on August 10, 2020, and replace Neeraj Vyas. Prasad has been part of State Bank of India, India's oldest and largest banking group, for over three decades and has handled several assignments for the bank in various locations in India and abroad. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Go Air appoints new CEO

GoAir has appointed Kaushik Khona as its new CEO. Khona will replace, industry veteran Vinay Dube who took charge as CEO in February this year."The Nominations & Remuneration Committee and the Board met today and have appointed Kaushik Khona as CEO with immediate effect," GoAir said. The company added, "Dube has ceased to be in the employment of GoAir with immediate effect and hence ceases to be the CEO." Prior to this, Dube was earlier the CEO of Jet Airways. Khona brings with himself more than 32 years of corporate experience and all at the CXO level.

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Flagstar Bank appoints David W. Hollis as CHRO

Flagstar Bank has named David W. Hollis as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer with responsibility for all of the company's HR initiatives. In this role, he oversees recruiting, training, business partnerships, HR information systems, compensation, pay and benefits, internal communications, employee engagement, and HR's role in implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives. He brings to Flagstar over 25 years of HR leadership in financial services, manufacturing/industrial, and retail industries. Most recently he served as Chief Talent Officer at Goodyear Tire and Rubber where he had extensive HR responsibilities encompassing 64,000 employees in 22 countries.

Rent the Runway appoints Chief People Officer

Rent the Runway, the designer dress, and accessory rentals company, announced that Ellen Shultz is joining as the company’s Chief People Officer. Shultz--who previously served as The New York Times’ most senior HR leader and member of the organization’s Executive Committee--will play a critical role in accelerating Rent the Runway’s continued transformation of consumer behavior change. She brings to Rent the Runway more than 20 years of experience pioneering people strategies and building diverse and inclusive organizations. Her start date is September 8, 2020.

Real estate firm Fairstead ropes in new Chief People Officer

Fairstead, a fully-integrated real estate firm committed to affordable housing, announced the appointment

14

| SEPTEMBER 2020

of Gladys Chen as its first Chief People Officer (CPO). As Fairstead's new CPO, Chen will provide strategic and operational Human Resources leadership for the firm, drive initiatives that support the company's strategic objectives regarding corporate culture and values, and collaborate with Fairstead's leadership team to successfully grow the business while maintaining a high-performance work environment.

One call ropes in Terri Lewis as Chief Human Resources Officer

One Call, that deals specialty network management services for the workers’ compensation industry, announced the appointment of Terri Lewis to Chief Human Resources Officer. Lewis joins the organization’s senior leadership team to focus on the company’s most valuable asset – its employees. Over the last decade, One Call has experienced rapid growth while developing a comprehensive suite of postinjury solutions for customers and the injured workers they serve. More growth is underway as the company expands its suite of solutions to include pre-injury offerings – such as safety, injury prevention, and wellness – for a post-COVID workforce.

Ex VP, HR of Unilever joins MongoDB as Chief People Officer

MongoDB, which deals in modern general purpose database platform, announced the appointment of Harsha Jalihal as Chief People Officer. Jalihal will oversee the company’s human resources operations globally, supporting 2,100+ people in 29 countries. In this role, she will lead workforce strategy, talent acquisition and development, diversity and inclusion, total rewards, and employee engagement, and will join MongoDB’s executive leadership team.

Intelligent Waves appoints its new Chief Human Resources Officer

Intelligent Waves, LLC, a leadingedge trusted IT systems integrator, that delivers high-impact transformational IT solutions to Government’s most missioncritical challenges in austere and demanding environments, has announced that Heidi Pirela will join the company as its new Chief Human Resources Officer. In support of Intelligent Waves’ unprecedented growth and expansion, she will be responsible for leading the company’s invigorated Human Resources function.


Rapid-Fire

eleven Questions

interview

Sainursalwa Sani

Group Chief Human Capital Officer, SME Bank, Malaysia By Neelanjana Mazumdar

7

1

Gig Workers or Permanent Employees?

One thing that makes you passionate about HR?

A balanced workforce; similar to football games; an organization needs strikers and defenders

Opportunity to play a role in making someone else a better person so he is able to create an impact to the organization

8

2

In my younger career day, I was exposed to talent and leadership development matters which were the “upcoming HR practices” back then. I realized that whilst we are trying to define the “commonalities” of talent; we forgot to acknowledge their “individuality” respectively

3

One tech/innovation that will transform HR? Data-driven HR analytics

4

One perception you wish to change about the HR function? A decision affecting the mass shall not be made from the comfort of office room. If you are in doubt, go to the ground to understand and experience it

Do not lose the ‘human’ aspects of HR at the expense of technology implementation

5

What's your learning mantra?

Cogito Ergo Sum; I think therefore I am

6

3 key talent priorities for SME Bank, currently?

Upskilling and reskilling to further enhance functional capabilities among our bankers; Inculcating coaching culture and leadership ownership; and investing on middle management

Tan Sri Wahid Omar; for his guts to make difficult and right decisions. For him, leadership is all about accountability and integrity

r a p i d - f i r e

One leader you closely follow and one hallmark of that leader

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

9

Best career advice you've ever got? You shall never go wrong by doing the right thing

10

One question you ask in every interview?

Did you make your bed in the morning?

11

What's your favorite holiday destination? One reason why? Istanbul; good food, good weather, and beautiful people. What else to ask for? SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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News Feature

Unemployment and hiring sentiments: The first six months

An analysis of the hiring and unemployment data across major economies and how the next six months looks like By Anushree Sharma

O 16

n average, unemployment is the second most elephantine concern for economies around the world. According to a research conducted by Ipsos, COVID-19 World Worries, it was found that unemployment was the biggest concern for 27 countries. It is no news that COVID-19 has damaged the employ| SEPTEMBER 2020

ment market hugely. Some of the biggest economies like the US are experiencing unemployment levels as that was experienced in WWII. While a lot of reports and experts suggest an optimistic overview of the labor market in the second half of the year, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the labor market recovery during the second

half of 2020 will be uncertain and incomplete. In the baseline scenario, workinghour losses are likely to still be in the order of 4.9 percent (equivalent to 140 million full-time jobs) in the fourth quarter of the year. However, under the pessimistic scenario, which assumes a second wave of the pandemic in the second half of 2020, working-hour losses would be as high as 11.9 percent (equivalent to 340 million full-time jobs) in the last quarter. Even in the optimistic scenario, which assumes


2. Industries hiring

Top global concers 2020 60% 55% 50% 45%

Coronavirus/COVID-19

40%

Unemployment

35%

Poverty & social inequality

30% 25%

Financial/political corruption

20%

Crime & violence

15%

Healthcare

10% 5% 0% Jan 2020 Feb 2020 Mar 2020 Apr 2020 May 2020 Jun 2020 Jul 2020 Research among adults aged 16-64 in 27 participating countries, c. 19,000 per month. (January - July 2020). Source: Ipsos Global Advisor Get the data Created with Datawraper

23.52%

6.0% 5.70%

China

4.2%

3.9% 3.9%

UK

Germany

2.4% 2.9%

Singapore

8.67%

April August

India

2.6% 2.2%

The impact of the COVID-19 on the labor market clearly shows disturbing effects on workers and millions of businesses worldwide. Between April-June 2020, the world lost almost 400 million full-time jobs due to the pandemic, according to the International Labor Organization. Almost 59 percent of full-time jobs have been exterminated in the APAC region, while South Asia accounted for 110 million of the total 235 million fulltime jobs lost this quarter.

A glance at the unemployment rate across the major economies - 2020

Japan

1. Unemployment rate

Manufacturers, airlines, and retailers have announced redundancies in the thousands. The youth have been particularly hard hit.

(Note: The figures for China, Germany, and Singapore are till 30th July. The figures are sourced from different local employment sites of the region)

SEPTEMBER 2020 |

News Feature

a fast recovery, global working hours are unlikely to return to the pre-crisis level by the end of 2020. Here are some critical hiring and unemployment sentiments we have observed in the last six months due to the ongoing pandemic:

As reported by Bloomberg, below are the industries with the highest and lowest rates of employment growth for the most recent month. Delving deeper, according to the various job sites, some of the top industries those were hiring were: Shipping and delivery companies: Amazon was among the e-commerce companies hiring in masses, mostly for fulfillment and delivery. Online learning companies: With over a million of children out of school, it’s boom time for online schools, which are swiftly expanding capacity. Grocery stores and delivery services: You’ve probably heard on the news about people who are ‘panic buying’ and huge lineups at grocery stores. Essential retailers have responded to this increase in demand by hiring more cashiers, store clerks, shelf stockers, cleaners, and a variety of other roles. Remote meeting and communication companies: With extended lockdown, almost every business around the world asked their employees to work from home, giving rise to investment in collaboration and connectivity tools. Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams were among the top companies to hire.

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Industries with the highest and lowest rates of employment growth for the most recent month +10.85%

+9.13%

+8.04%

+7.42%

Clothing & clothing accessories Gained 120, 800 jobs Current wage $16.60

Personal & laundry services Gained 118,600 jobs Current wage $17.18

Amusement, gambling & recreation industries Gained 99,600 jobs Current wage $16.46

Electronics & appliances stores Gained 30,600 jobs Current wage $23.74

Furnitures & home furnishings stores Gained 27,600 jobs Current wage $20.01

-2.96%

-2.97%

-2.98%

-4.32%

-4.80%

Scenic & sightseeing transportation

Other general merchandise stores

Textile product mills Lost 3,100 jobs

Support activities for mining

Performing arts & spectator sports

Lost 600 jobs

Lost 63,600 jobs

Current wage $15.68

Lost 10,600 jobs Current wage $30.25

Lost 12,800 jobs Current wage $29.03

+15.03%

News Feature

3. Jobs and skills of the future

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In many respects, the future of work is already here. Amid the headlines exclaiming the loss of jobs due to pandemic and other changes brought by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and autonomous systems, it’s clear that the way we work

| SEPTEMBER 2020

Even in the optimistic scenario, which assumes a fast recovery, global working hours are unlikely to return to the pre-crisis level by the end of 2020 and live is transforming. This evolution can be unnerving. Since we know change is inevitable, let’s look at what skills will be

required the most with the changing nature of jobs. LinkedIn, recently analyzed its data to identify the skills employers want


according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. It’s about the skills around it, like sticking with the task and doing your research. And just like clear communication, it’s seldom been more vital.

most and how you can use them to raise your game. It says interpersonal “soft” skills (versus “hard” skills – abilities developed over time, like coding) are the most prized. This reflects previous research by organizations including Deloitte, and the World Economic Forum, which investigated the skills that will be needed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution in its Future of Jobs Report. Here’s a deeper look at five in-demand skills:

Problem Solving Forget team-building exercises that involve building a bridge with a pair of styrofoam cups and a piece of string. Problem solving is much more than that. It’s about identifying a task, breaking it down into its components, and fixing it,

The impact of the COVID-19 on the labor market clearly shows disturbing effects on workers and millions of businesses worldwide. Manufacturers, airlines, and retailers have announced redundancies in the thousands

Leadership The current global crisis calls for leaders who can support and inspire people through challenges, and who can engage them in the flow of life and work during and post-pandemic. The way forward requires a strategic, thoughtful, compassionate approach to leadership.

News Feature

Communication Because COVID-19 has increased the adoption of remote-working software, the need to strike the right tone of voice has, if anything, increased – not just for employees, but for employers too. LinkedIn says it’s not just verbal cues that recruiters are looking for, but “digital body language”. Are you making the right impression with the tone you adopt in emails and texts?

Analytical skills Leveraging Analytics has become critical more than ever. Getting strategic insight into what is really going on with business performance, customer choices, etc. can help focus on what matters most.

Customer Services Regardless of the industry you’re targeting, from senior to junior level, you need to create a positive experience for those who, ultimately, pay your wages. COVID-19 has been rich with lessons in how great customer service can make a difference. In times of uncertainty and crisis, people want information they can trust. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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B I G

I N TERVIEW

Our focus is on creating an employee-first culture: Poly’s CHRO

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In this Big Interview, Anja Hamilton, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Poly, shares some insights on how the organization is adapting to the changing times in terms of remote working, business continuity, and employee well-being By Mastufa Ahmed

A

nja Hamilton serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Poly. In this role, she is responsible for all aspects of human resources, including talent acquisition, inclusion and diversity, learning, succession management, engagement, compensation and benefits, health and wellbeing, and people solutions and systems. Hamilton joined Poly in 2018 and has more than 20 years of experience in human resources leadership roles spanning the semiconductor, e-commerce, and entertainment industries. She has a successful track record of driving exponential growth through producSEPTEMBER 2020 | september

tivity-boosting people solutions and is an expert in creating high-performing, agile work teams. Prior to joining Poly, Hamilton was Chief People Officer at Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT) where she held a major role in accelerating IDT’s growth through aligning people with priorities, driving high engagement and loyalty, and elevating team performance by building a culture

of continuous growth and learning. Prior to IDT, she held HR leadership roles at Atmel Corporation, eBay Inc., Electronic Arts Inc., and several start-up companies. Hamilton holds a business administration degree from the College of Applied Sciences in Augsburg, Germany. Additionally, she holds several certifications in Human Resource Management and an advanced busi-

The pandemic has shifted the mindset about remote working and many employers are realizing that when they equip their employees with the right collaboration tools, they are productive no matter where they are


B I G I N TERVIEW

SEPTEMBER 2020 | september

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I N TERVIEW B I G

ness administration/media technology degree from the Professional Academy for Media Tech in Munich, Germany. In this exclusive interaction, Hamilton shares her take on post-pandemic trends like remote working, flexi hours, and other workplace trends that are here to stay and how they will impact the future of work. She also shares insights on how Poly is adapting to the changing times in terms of remote working, business continuity, and employee well-being. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

How are you adapting to the changing times in terms of remote working, business continuity, and employee well-being? As the world continues to battle COVID-19, our top

priority at Poly has always been to protect the health and safety of our employees, stakeholders, and communities as we continue to serve our customers. Remote working or working-from-anywhere has been a culture at Poly for many years now and almost all our employees were already equipped with collaboration tools like headsets and our USB cameras like Eagle Eye Mini; also, we had rolled out Microsoft Teams and Zoom as collaboration platforms for employees long before the pandemic to help them work and focus from anywhere. Therefore, ensuring business continuity was not an issue for us at Poly. To support employees with the full-time shift to remote working, we introduced internal programs and training sessions so that they could access informa-

tion and tools regarding best practices of working from home. With respect to employee well-being, we understand that this has been a very tough period and anxiety and stress levels are at an alltime high. At Poly, we have rolled out several employee well-being initiatives to help employees combat burnout - we have introduced online platforms like WHIL which provides programs to help people improve their mental well-being, performance, relationships, and sleep. We are also offering employee assistance programs wherein employees can connect with professionals to deal with any mental health, stress, depression, financial concerns, family issues, and well-being matters that they may have. We have also created internal groups where people can come together and share their talents with other employees. With this program, we’ve seen people with great skill sets come forward and take Tai Chi and Yoga sessions for our employees - this has helped boost employee morale.

How do you see the overall role of HR and people managers evolving amid this pandemic and what’s the way forward for people and talent managers to make HR mission-critical for business? 22

| SEPTEMBER 2020


employees are also happier as they are able to achieve a good work-life balance. We foresee that the future of work will be hybrid working – we will see workers splitting their time between their home (office) and the office. Going forward, more work and collaboration will be done virtually. Some of the other trends include: • Hybrid working spaces: While home offices and co-working spaces are

going to rise in prominence, we don’t see the traditional offices disappearing anytime soon. New collaboration spaces will pop up but there will still be a need for centralized company workspaces for idea generation and to give the workforce its sense of identity. For the postpandemic scenario, the office real estate may be restructured, scaleddown, or take its form in a co-working space SEPTEMBER 2020 |

I N TERVIEW

Working from home is going to grow beyond its pre-COVID-19 norms, as many experts say. What’s your take on postpandemic trends like remote working, flexi hours? What other trends do you think are here to stay and how will they impact the future of work? The pandemic has shifted the mindset about remote working and many employers are realizing that when they equip their employees with the right collaboration tools, they are productive no matter where they are;

For the post-pandemic scenario, the office real estate may be restructured, scaled-down, or take its form in a co-working space so that flexible workers can fulfill the craving of being alongside other people, without being tied to a specific desk or location

B I G

In my opinion, human resource (HR) managers have always been missioncritical to businesses but ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have been put in the spotlight and are playing a crucial role in guiding organizations and employees out of this crisis. We’re tasked with navigating the entire workforce through difficult challenges and changes and our focus will be on helping employees and business leaders re-skill for the new normal by rolling out initiatives and programs that help them thrive and be productive. During this stressful period, our focus will also be towards supporting and safeguarding our employees’ mental and physical well-being to create an employee-first culture.

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I N TERVIEW B I G 24

During a crisis, it’s necessary to adjust organizational, team, and individual goals, for both workforce and marketrelated reasons. To adjust to this shift, companies will have to change the way they evaluate employees so that flexible workers can fulfill the craving of being alongside other people, without being tied to a specific desk or location. • Hybrid working culture: Healthy work culture is crucial for any organization and it is imperative that companies shift their culture for the new hybrid work environment. New policies will have to be developed for the hybrid workforce and the management will need to be equipped with the skills to manage this shift. Companies will have to invest in communication and collaboration tools to monitor, engage, and interact with hybrid-working teams. | SEPTEMBER 2020

In a nutshell, for the future of work, HR managers will have to work towards creating consistent work experiences for employees, and managing a distributed workforce will be paramount for HR/ business leaders.

To come out stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, there is a growing emphasis on workforce reskilling. What are your thoughts on this and how can organizations harness agile learning techniques to reskill employees for the larger digital transformation? The market is shifting dramatically and having the right skillsets to thrive in this changing market is crucial.

I think that developing talent should start at the university level - universities need to rethink their curriculum and partner with private businesses to develop talent. The government also has a huge role to play in this as they should look at ways in which they can support institutes that help in reskilling talent. Companies should set aside development budgets for employees and we should protect this budget. Investment in online learning platforms will also go a long way in ensuring that our workforce is prepared for digital transformation.

What should be the top criteria for businesses to manage employee performance and productivity amid the uncertainty?


Due to the pandemic, employees might not be as productive due to crisisinduced circumstances. Many employees may be adjusting to fully-remote work, dealing with unexpected life changes, or juggling caregiving responsibilities. Hence, during a crisis, it’s necessary to adjust organizational, team, and individual goals, for both workforce and marketrelated reasons. To adjust to this shift, companies will have to change the way they evaluate employees.

At Poly, we use an outcome-based methodology for tracking and performance. Outcomebased performance allows us to help our employees focus on achieving measurable impact and not just on effort alone. Therefore, our employees are not evaluated on the number of hours they clock-in or their workplace location, instead, on the impact, they create in the organization.

How do you see the gender diversity landscape

I N TERVIEW

SEPTEMBER 2020 |

B I G

Thanks to the shift to remote working, we can also reach out to underprivileged communities who will now have equal opportunities at the workplace without having to travel long distances

amid this crisis? According to McKinsey, progress on I&D could slow down during and after the crisis unless companies consciously focus on advancing diversity and fostering inclusion. No, in fact, I think that moving to remote working environment has given us an opportunity to embrace diversity at a greater scale. In my opinion, the lack of flexibility offered by a workplace was the biggest enemy for diversity. For instance, some women with young kids used to find that the lack of flexible working options held them back from returning to the workplace. With the shift to remote working, we now have an opportunity to reach out and support women to enter back into the workforce and give them the option to work from anywhere. Thanks to the shift to remote working, we can also reach out to underprivileged communities who will now have equal opportunities at the workplace without having to travel long distances. I’m a firm believer that having a diverse culture is essential to any organization. At Poly, we believe that every employee has a voice, and make sure that every voice is heard and that all opinions are valued and appreciated.

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Dr. Pavan Soni

How people managers can adopt Design Thinking to re-engage their distressed workforce

S t r a t e g i c

HR

How can we craft differentiated and enduring employee experiences at a time when scores of employees are under greater pressure than ever before? Design thinking may offer some fresh solutions

26

D

esign Thinking has become the dominant approach of designing clever new products and differentiated customer experiences. From its roots in industrial and product design and architecture, the method of design thinking is finding applications in solving technical and behavioral problems in an array of scenarios, in both business to business and business to consumer settings. Thanks to Jeff Bezos and his relentless pursuit of

| SEPTEMBER 2020

customer obsession, the notion of “customer-centricity” has come to the mainstream ethos of running organizations. What Steve Jobs brought to design, Taiichi Ohno brought to quality, and Andy Grove lent to operations, Jeff Bezos infused in customer service: passion with purpose. However, a customer-centric organization has to be foremost an employee-centric organization, or else how would your front-end, customer-facing employees go far and beyond the “script” to delight your customers with memorable experiences? And why only the customer facing executives? The entire organization must rally around the “True North”. In this article, I discuss how HR professionals can adopt the tenets of design thinking to craft differentiated and enduring employee experiences, and why the truest pursuit of customer obsession is always routed through employee obsessions. The call for thinking differently towards employee engagement has taken alarming proportions owing to the COVID19 induced lockdown and ensuing economic and social slow-


Design thinking starts with “empathy”: being the person you wish to help. As a practicing manager, you would appreciate that empathy does not come easy or cheap. It requires a tremendous amount of patience and practice: to be able to understand one’s emotional state, getting to control the emotions in self, graduating to understand others’ emotional motivations, and then being able to influence those. Emotional intelligence, says Daniel Goleman, is one of life’s most crucial skills and he rates it above IQ. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, identifies empathy as core to business. In his book, Hit Refresh,

HR

Engage with the ‘human’ in your employee

How can people managers, from across functions and the organizational hierarchy, re-energize, re-engage, and re-invigorate their dispersed employee base before there is irreversible loss of employee morale and deterioration of organizational culture?

S t r a t e g i c

down, which has pushed scores of employees to adopt sub-optimal ways of working and spending time with their families and self. This has led to wide-felt and deeprooted stress and disengagement and unless addressed creatively and urgently this disenchantment can lead to irreversible loss of employee morale and deterioration of organizational culture. Waiting for things to return to normal might be a tunnel dream, for even while employees work from home or are in office for limited durations, their engagement levels are sloping downwards. Drawing from the practice of design thinking, I offer three recommendations on how people managers, from across functions and the organizational hierarchy, can re-energize, re-engage, and re-invigorate their dispersed employee base in time.

Satya narrates an incident from his interview at Microsoft when he was asked the question, “Imagine you see a baby lying in the street, and the baby is crying. What would you do?” Satya, all in his 20s, said, “you call 911.” Years later, when Satya reflects on his callous response, he wonders how apathetic he was and the way his life’s experiences, especially the birth of his son, Zain, who suffered from cerebral palsy, changed his world view and made him a highly empathetic person. Satya does not claim to have an innate capability of empathy that he was born with. If anything, SEPTEMBER 2020 |

27


S t r a t e g i c

HR

he says, his life has taught him how to be more empathetic, and that his pursuit is to have a growing sense of empathy for people around him. It would not be a stretch to say that Satya was hired for his intelligence, but was promoted for his empathy. As your employees are facing hardships on personal and professional fronts, it is time to take a long term view on developing talent and fostering an enduring

organizational culture. It starts with identifying the “human� in your employee: the spouse, the parent, the child, the neighbor, the homemaker, the citizen. The pursuit of profits and perfection cannot and should not come at the cost of employee morale. A genuine sense of empathy and human centricity comes through the means of listening with intent, observing with purpose, and deferring judgment. It would help to get a daily beat from your employees in terms of their mood and morale, observing that their schedule is not taxing them (and their families), and parking your 28

| SEPTEMBER 2020

judgment in the face of a momentary dip in performance.

Pushing experimentation wide and out

Another crucial tenet of design thinking is experimentation involving rapid and cheap prototyping. The HR functions have traditionally been not as amicable to experimentation as R&D or even other core functions. Even continuous improvement comes in a very non-continuous manner. For instance, how many novel approaches of recruitment or compensation design have you seen in your organization? According to evolutionary theory and organizational ecology, during times of high uncertainty and complexity, an organism (or organization) that can introduce improvisation would have a higher chance of survival. The external change must be met with an equal pace of change internal to the organization. In this fractured work environment, where scores of associates and partners are working at disparate locations in desperate situations, no centralized means of change is possible or even advisable. A more organic and measurable means would be a decentralized, dispersed mutation, triggered by employees themselves, well within their own zones of influence. What if an employee has unprecedented discretion over how she engages with her work, defines the scope, delivers outcome, and measures performance? A centralized thought out approach may still not work, as there is no feedback loop working


between a grand plan and its flawless implementation. Instead, let the employees be self-directed.

Add gains to overcompensate pains

HR

If you are an HR manager, regardless of your role, how much time do you spend in addressing your associates’ pains versus adding joys and gains to their lives? You must acknowledge that solving pain areas is akin to riding the curve of diminishing returns

S t r a t e g i c

Lastly, on the asymmetry between gains and pains. If you are an HR manager, regardless of your role, how much time do you spend in addressing your associates’ pains versus adding joys and gains to their lives? If your calendar is choked with exit interviews, pep talks, recruitment drives, negotiations over compensation, and benefits, amongst others, you are essentially absorbed in alleviating pains. And you know that you can never ever remove all the pain points, for pains are often relative and not absolute. Such as: “My batchmate is drawing more salary than me for a similar profile”, or “I don’t feel adequately recognized in my current role”. I would not suggest that you overlook problems, but you must acknowledge that solving pain areas is akin to riding the curve of diminishing returns. You have to solve the most pressing problems but not all. Instead, focus your attention on adding gains to the equation. Well designed gains can overcompensate pains. In the realm of employee engagement, there is already more pain in the work and lives of your employees. Instead of putting all your attention to easing that pain, which should certainly not be overlooked, try creative means of adding joy. Such as running hobby classes for a few hours every week, some arts and craft activity to be done along

with family, contests unrelated to the work at hand, and so on. In fact, ideas can even come from your employees, who desperately need some healthy distraction. In summary, design thinking can lend a lot of fresh perspectives to the HR function, which is becoming core to organizational revival and employee engagement during these testing times. Let these ideas bring new and better experiences to people managers and the people under their responsibility alike. Dr. Pavan Soni is the Founder & Innovation Evangelist, Inflexion Point Consulting SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Change starts at the top: CEO, Russell Reynolds Associates on Sustainable Leadership

s p e c i a l I N TERVIEW

In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Clarke Murphy, CEO, Russell Reynolds Associates (New York) shares his views on why sustainable leadership is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a critical business imperative, increasingly recognized by all stakeholders around the world

30

T

By Yasmin Taj

he times that we are living in currently have brought to the fore the urgent need for reliable and trustworthy leaders. And while trust, agility, adaptability, and empathy are key qualities, sustainability is also a critical skill for leaders to have in this new world. The world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the fundamental weaknesses in our global systems. Ninety-two percent of CEOs believe integration of sustainability will be important to the future success of their business. However, there is a gap between

SEPTEMBER 2020 | september


Your career trajectory is very extensive and interesting. You have worked in multiple countries and held

Sustainable leaders understand that business is not a commercial activity divorced from the wider society and environmental contexts in which it operates ten different roles over the years. When you look back, how have these experiences helped you grow as a leader? Understanding different cultures and having to adapt to nuances of different business practices has probably been my greatest education in growing as a leader. Patience and listening in certain times and situations, yet fast decisions and agility in others. Plus learning the difference between the two! We talk a lot about the learning quotient in our firm— being able to continuously learn so we serve clients better in a changing world—

and that has been so true for me in growing as a leader. And the best learning, at least for me, came from the mistakes I made or wrong assumptions I made – so I learned the hard way! Also, to remember that in a new role or new country, the first tour is the listening tour. When you think you already know the answer before you listen, that is where the danger lies. Gather perspectives, hear the history, ask good questions and challenge the thinking, but go away better educated than when you arrived – you make better long-term decisions. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

s p e c i a l I N TERVIEW

rhetoric and reality. Only 48 percent of CEOs say they are implementing sustainability in their operations, and only 21 percent of CEOs actually feel that business is currently playing a critical role in achieving the SDGs. There is now a significant opportunity for boards and C-suite leaders to place sustainability at the center of corporate purpose and strategy. To identify how organizations can make sustainability central to their organization’s culture and leadership, Russell Reynolds Associates and the UN Global Compact carried out in-depth interviews and background analysis which resulted in ‘Leadership for the Decade of Action’ report. In this exclusive interaction, Clarke Murphy, CEO, Russell Reynolds Associates (New York) shares his views on why sustainable leadership is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a critical business imperative, increasingly recognized by all stakeholders around the world. With over 25 years of experience in the recruiting industry, Clarke has led notable CEO and Board of Directors searches. Here are the excerpts from the interview:

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According to the Leadership for the Decade of Action study by the United Nations Global Compact and Russell Reynolds Associates on the characteristics of sustainable business leaders, ‘Sustainability is a leadership imperative. The time to act is now’. How would you define sustainable leadership and why is it an imperative today? Sustainable leaders understand that business is not a commercial activity divorced from the wider society and environmental contexts in which it operates. Rather, these leaders believe that to be successful in the long term, they must innovate and manage simultaneously across commercial, societal and environmental outcomes. Finding and developing sustainable leaders will be vital for companies that seek to survive and thrive in the post-COVID-19 era, as pressure mounts from all stakeholder groups to respond to changing societal values, concerns about climate change and increasing economic and political instability. The criteria for commercial success is changing in response, and the businesses that successfully navigate this transition will be those that meet the needs of as many people as possible, utilize as few resources as possible and engage with and respond to | SEPTEMBER 2020

What are the key traits/ attributes of sustainable leadership and what do these leaders do differently? Our research with the United Nations Global Compact, Leadership for the Decade of Action reveals an urgent need for transformational business leaders who look beyond near-term profits to make the long-term sustainability and resilience of the world a top business priority.

continents and industries with a notable track record of focusing on and making progress towards sustainability goals in tandem with commercial results. Our analysis defines the characteristics, actions and differentiating leadership attributes that fuel sustainable leaders’ success. At their core, they are differentiated by a “sustainable mindset” that business is not a commercial activity divorced from the wider societal and environmental context in which it operates, and that

To identify how organizations can make sustainability core to the DNA of their leadership teams, Russell Reynolds Associates and the UN Global Compact carried out in-depth interviews and background analysis on a group of close to 60 sustainability pioneers – CEO and board members from across

to be successful in the long term, leaders must innovate and manage across commercial, societal, and environmental outcomes. Leaders with a sustainable mindset align all aspects of running their organization with these core values and beliefs. They combine this sustainable mindset with a set of

as many of their stakeholders as possible.


differentiated leadership attributes:

According to the study, commitment to sustainability is at an all-time high. 92 percent of CEOs believe integration of sustainability will be important to the future success of their business. However, there is a gap between rhetoric and reality. Only 48 percent of CEOs say they are implementing sustainability in their operations. Why is there such a

Analyzing close to 4,000 role specifications across industries and the globe we found that in 2019, while 15 percent of executive and non-executive role specifications made reference to sustainability (up from 9 percent in 2015), only 4 percent of executive and nonexecutive role specifications included sustainability experience or mindset as an actual requirement. To put that another way, businesses are doing a great job embedding talk of sustain-

Finding and developing sustainable leaders will be vital for companies that seek to survive and thrive in the postCOVID-19 era, as pressure mounts from all stakeholder groups to respond to changing societal values, concerns about climate change, and increasing economic and political instability a manner that supports the long-term viability of the business. But despite changing stakeholder expectations of businesses and leaders, as of yet sustainability is not widely embedded in leadership expectations or culture — what companies look for when they hire leaders is a good measure of this. Russell Reynolds Associates looked at how frequently sustainability was a factor in senior executive hiring and board appointments.

ability into descriptions about their company but are falling short in driving decisions about which leaders to hire based on it. Until companies start embedding sustainability in the leadership culture of their organization, the gap between rhetoric and reality will continue to exist. The best organizations are taking concerted steps to embed sustainability into the frameworks and processes that drive how leaders are selected, SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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• Multi-level systems thinking: They incorporate the interplay of business, societal and environmental systems, and drive decisions that turn sustainability into a competitive advantage. • Stakeholder influence: They don’t seek to manage stakeholders, rather they actively include them in defining and actioning decisions. • Disruptive innovation: They possess the courage to challenge traditional approaches and cut through bureaucracy to drive the disruptive innovation needed to do away with the profitabilitysustainability trade-off. • Long-term activation: They do not simply have an orientation towards the long term, they set bold sustainability goals and rigorously drive concerted action in their pursuit.

huge gap between rhetoric and reality? To go beyond “greenwashing” and meaningfully integrate sustainability into operations requires full ownership and commitment by the most senior leaders of the organization – the CEO, their executive team, and the board. They alone are uniquely positioned to drive the transformation needed by integrating sustainability into business strategy and operations in

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promoted, rewarded, and developed. This provides a powerful signal from the top that the leadership team will back its commitment to sustainability with real decisions about current and future leaders.

How do organizations embed sustainability in their leadership culture? Change starts at the top. You need a board leader or CEO to drive and evangelize the issue. But these leaders know that they alone cannot achieve lasting change. They work to make sustainable leadership an expectation for their most senior leaders. They do this in two ways: they make sustainability outcomes part of the objectives their leaders are measured on, and they make tough talent decisions— hiring, promoting, and letting leaders go—in part based on their commitment | SEPTEMBER 2020

cal for leaders as they work through challenges from COVID-19: 1. Executives need to be brave in thinking independently and making very difficult decisions. They know they are not bystanders to what is happening right now, but active participants. 2. Executives must display authenticity and empathy in all that they do. Showing openness and vulnerability is critical for a leader to build rapport with others. to and impact on sustainabil- 3. Leaders must be able to ity. connect the organization to societal purpose and explain the “reason for According to you, what being” for the organizawould the “new normal” tion. This source of belongfor leadership be now as we ing, engagement, and motifind ways to ride through the vation are very important COVID-19 crisis? overall, but especially critiLeaders today need to have cal while emerging from a a sustainable mindset: the period of crisis. purpose-driven belief that 4. Executives need to think business is not a commerdifferently about the cial activity divorced from opportunities and chalthe wider societal and envilenges they are facing. ronmental context in which They need to know how it operates, and that to be and when to deploy both successful in the long term, an “offensive” and “defenleaders must innovate and sive” mindset, and the manage across commercial, approach issues systematisocietal and environmental cally and while thinking outcomes. across multiple horizons. To be clear though, while 5. Executives need a strong that mindset is hugely level of financial and important, it only has operating “sharpness” to impact when combined with the right set of skills to navigate the inevitable deliver sustainable business financial and economic outcomes. challenges the organizaWe think there are six tion will face. specific skills that are criti6. Executives must embrace


digital tools and practices now, even if they were hesitant about them before. From innovation to remote work, digital is now critical to leaders’ goals, but they must also be wide-eyed about the associated challenges and threats that come from a reliance on technology.

The best organizations are taking concerted steps to embed sustainability into the frameworks and processes that drive how leaders are selected, promoted, rewarded and developed Second; providing longer term advice beyond search work. We have seen a shift in client demand now – an enormous focus on succession planning and development of their best people as the world changes underneath them. So, alongside our search business has emerged longer term leadership succession for our board clients and development plans for the executive teams for the CEO. Third is helping clients select successful sustainable leaders, not just successful leaders. We sat in the United Nations in the winter of 2019 and had a discussion on

why the SDGs were not being met? Ultimately it came down to leadership, or lack of it, around sustainability. Governments are not stepping up, so the private sector needs to. And we spent a year with the United Nations Global Compact developing a framework for identifying sustainable leaders. If we can identify them EARLIER in their careers to make change SOONER, their companies will not only be valued more highly – they literally can change the world. This has gotten our firm enormously energized and it will also redefine who we are and what we can do. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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What are your top three priorities at the moment? Well, I might differ a bit— this is NOT the new normal. We are in a phase of transition and adoption that is unprecedented. We do not yet know what normal might be, so we have to brace ourselves for the longest period of uncertainty I have seen. Good markets or bad markets you can adjust to, ongoing uncertainty is unnerving—not normal. All our priorities have one mission; to improve the way the world is led. It is our passion. Right now, the first priority is to give confidence to our colleagues about their health, safety, and flexibility. Never has a world required more flexibility and we can assure that. Schools opening or not, markets moving, fear of meeting others, and not able to travel to see family or friends is brutal. We are social beasts. We need some constants in our lives right now and we want to be the rock for our colleagues as a community.

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Joyce Jenkins

The Future of Global Work As governments closed borders and air transport routes across the world, in an effort to tackle COVID-19, expatriate workers were left stranded. Let's looks at the issues that have plagued the community

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he globally mobile workforce of international professionals has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving some questioning the attractiveness of living and working abroad. This is one of the findings of a new study by a team of international researchers of over 500 expatriates of 55 different nationalities in 48 countries conducted between March and June 2020. • Closed borders, canceled flights and the introduction of new entry restrictions for foreign residents in this phase of the pandemic have left many expatriates separated from partners, family members and friends and unable to return to the countries where they have homes and jobs. • Many have lost their jobs, their income and their rights of residence in the countries where they have made their lives. • The ability to travel when needed for family emer| SEPTEMBER 2020

gencies or to visit relatives and friends has been severely challenged at this time and for the foreseeable future. Interestingly, despite the raft of difficulties experienced by many who took part in the survey, the majority of respondents (74 percent) indicated that they are ''likely'' or ''very likely'' to continue living and working abroad or to go abroad again to live and work. Some are sanguine and see the COVID-19 situation as ''just another challenge''

of living abroad. For others, living abroad has become a way of life or they are settled in the countries they are living in. Nearly half (44 percent) of survey respondents identify either a different country from that of their citizenships as home, call several or multiple countries "home'' or no country as home. Comments in response to this question include ''wherever my children are'' ''lived in so many countries'', ''my home is where I make it'' and ''the concept of "home" is outdated.'' Some reported different birth and citizen-


ship countries, as well as dual or multiple citizenships. At the same time, there has been a shift in motivation and priorities. Before the COVID-19 situation, the top motivation factors reported as ''very important'' by participants were: • seeing the world (58 percent) • new skills and experiences (57 percent)

who had been expatriated by their employers. The research indicated that the borderless, international lifestyle which many global professionals and their families have taken for granted over past decades has been drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the research, as borders started to close and flights were grounded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

they felt safer in the ''host'' country and had more trust in the measures taken by the governments of the host country than of their country of citizenship. While 5 percent -indicated they felt they had not made the right decision, the rest indicated ''other'' commenting either that they were ''not sure yet'' or that they ''had no choice''. Others indicated a dilemma with pros and cons in either choice, for example;

• over 75 percent of those surveyed stayed in the country they are living and working in • 87 percent felt that they had made the right decision given the circumstances • 81 percent indicated that, with hindsight and knowing how the COVID-19 situation panned out, they would not have done anything differently The most common reasons cited for staying were that they felt ''safe'', that it was their ''home'' and where they have their ''life'' and ''work''. Some indicated

"leaving would have likely resulted in loss of job, staying meant not to see family for an unknown period of time" Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed found themselves separated from partners or immediate family members for extended periods when borders closed and flights stopped. Many of those affected were out of their countries of residence on work trips or on personal visits, such as to support elderly or unwell parents or family members, when COVID-19 took an abrupt turn for the worse causing borders to be closed SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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• career development and new opportunities (48 percent ) Since the arrival of COVID-19 ''health, safety and security'' has become the top priority rising from 19 percent to 37 percent reporting it as ''very important'' slightly above ''financial reasons'' while ''career development'', ''new skills and experiences'', ''seeing the world'' and ''new opportunities for self'' are rated as ''very important'' by 34-35 percent of participants. The study included selfinitiated expats (those who chose to live and work abroad), as well as those

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With many governments focussing their efforts on supporting the livelihoods of their own citizens, some expatriates ‘fell between two stools’ – not meeting criteria for financial and job support schemes offered by their own government or the government of the country they are living and working in

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and flights to be canceled. They suddenly found themselves ''stranded'' and unable to return to their homes and lives in countries which imposed strict entry restrictions. Often, this meant that only citizens and permanent residents were allowed to enter the country (with additional strict quarantine and COVID testing measures). Even foreigners with valid residence and employment permits needed special permission to enter. One respondent who identified as a ''global citizen'' described the sudden shocking realization that the only place he had the right to go to was his passport country. Some of those stranded were fortunate enough to be in their ''home'' country and were able to stay with friends or family members. Others were in third countries and had the cost and inconvenience of having to find accommodation and make emergency living arrangements in an unfamiliar country. Alternatively, if they were not allowed to stay longer in that country, for example because of visa restrictions, they then had no choice but to travel to their citizenship country and wait there until they were allowed back into their country of residence. In some instances, this has meant children separated from both parents, and parents from each other, as in this case; | SEPTEMBER 2020

For many expat workers, the COVID-19 disruption has been an extremely stressful experience with a profound impact on their well-being and finances

been able to see their fathers. They cite social-media support groups for those who have been separated, with thousands of members who provide mutual support and advice. Over 75 percent of those surveyed, indicated that the situation had impacted their attitude to living and working abroad, with 20percent indicating it had ''very impacted'' and 6 percent indicating it had ''completely impacted'' "I've been unable to see my their attitude. Feelings of ''disillusionment'' were kids this year. They are commonly reported by those stuck in China. My partner is stuck in Singapore. who were ''locked out'' despite holding residence and work I'm stuck in the UK." permits, commenting for Now, as governments example, around the world try to balance containing the virus "I live there, pay tax, with the easing of border pay rent, volunteer for and travel restrictions, local charities, but withreduced flights and quaranout appeal or recourse, tine requirements have led I'm banned from going to long waiting lists with home there and am still reports indicating there are paying to live there. No still tens of thousands of empathy or consideraforeign residents waiting to tion" get government permission Others described feeling to enter the countries they like a second-class citizen consider home and where with comments like, they can be reunited with their family members. "We work there, contribFor many, this has been an ute to the economy and we extremely stressful experiare treated as if we are a ence with a profound impact burden on their society. We on their well-being and don’t count!" finances. An extreme examAnother common theme ple is that of some respondwas ''alienation'' or ''feeling ents who have given birth unwelcome'' and the feeling during this period withthat ''the expat/local divide out the presence or support has widened, which is upsetof their partners and have ting''. newborns who have not yet


countries in their efforts to be together including one respondent who had not seen her husband since the end of January after he was quarantined and in ''lockdown'' first in China, then Taiwan and then in Singapore. Many took it in their stride, finding creative ways to socialize and keep in

local citizens but not foreign residents. An example cited was the move from isolation to allowing meeting with members of another household, but only if that household is in the same family, thereby excluding foreign residents who do not have family in the country. International travel (for work, leisure and

touch virtually, and adapting to mask wearing and the new social distancing protocols as if they were customs of a new culture. Some even found positive aspects of the lockdown, such as spending more time at home with their family and not having to commute to work. Others found it really stressful causing major problems in their lives, such as ''completely cut off with no family or friends in this country.'' For some, the easing of restrictions was more stressful and sometimes benefited

family visits) was very or completely impacted for most participants in the survey (92 percent). Like most of the world, since COVID-19, from March to the end of June 2020, most survey participants were grounded, reporting zero international trips during this time. This was a stark contrast to their travel habits before the COVID-19 situation, with according to the survey, 73 percent of respondents reporting international travel for work at least SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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In other comments, respondents around the world and of a range of nationalities, described a rise in ''anti-foreign'' sentiment with ''outsiders'' blamed for bringing in the coronavirus or foreigners seen to be flouting the rules around mask wearing and social-distancing measures. However, for those who stayed together in host countries with closed borders and relatively low COVID-19 cases, life within the country was able to continue almost as normal, with few constraints, as in this example;

• 78 percent of participants in the survey experienced some sort of stay home period • 60 percent described the experience as ''mandatory''. Some had contrasting experiences in their ''home'' and ''host'' countries, for example,

"Stay at home in US was much more lax; I had a very very strict mandatory quarantine on my return to Korea." Some had to quarantine several times in different

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"I am living a slightly isolated life, unable to leave and travel elsewhere at present. But within those confines, am comfortable and can continue to work."

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1-2 times per year and 36 percent more than 6 times per year. For personal and family reasons 74 percent of respondents reported preCOVID international travel at least 1-2 times per year, while 23 percent traveled 3-5 times per year and 9 percent traveled more than 6 times per year. With ''seeing new places'' and ''new experiences'' being key attractions for those choosing to work abroad, survey participants additionally reported high levels (96 percent reporting at least 1-2 trips per year) of frequent travel for tourism and leisure prior to the COVID-19 situation. Since COVID-19, between March and June, 99 percent of those surveyed said their travel plans had been impacted, with most having made no international trips during that period. Most also predicted that their travel from June to August would be very (34 percent) or completely (52 percent)impacted, with 49 percent predicting that even beyond September, travel would be very (49 percent) or completely (13percent) impacted. Some saw advantages to this, especially if they were able to continue working from home. Comments included, "Unable to travel for my job, which is good for family life." and "While I love trave| SEPTEMBER 2020

ling, it was also okay to have a break from the logistics of constant travel." Others indicated that even when travel restrictions eased, they "would think twice about hopping on a plane for a business meeting or discussion which could just as easily be conducted on Zoom." However, the significance of international travel to those who live and work abroad is about much more

than business trips or holiday tourism. As one survey respondent said,

"As an expat, maintaining relationships depends on international travel." Another commented,

"I always stayed abroad on condition that I could jump on a plane in case I needed to attend to urgent family matters. Being unable to do this has made me reconsider the net

benefit of staying overseas." Others reported that family members, such as their children studying outside their country of residence could not come ''home'' when their educational institutions closed down because of COVID19 and that it was difficult for them to find somewhere to go. Those whose children did make it ''home''

before borders closed and flights were grounded were concerned about what to do when their visas expired, as this respondent commented,"My oldest child does not have a residence permit, so can only stay 90 days, Not sure what to do next." The great majority (98 percent) of participants indicated that the COVID-19 situation had impacted their home lives with 23 percent


saying it had ''completely impacted'' and 27 percent that it had ''very impacted'' them. Social lives were also affected as well as work, with some citing the fact that friends are especially important to expatriates, who live so far away from family members. 53 percent indicated the situation had either completely or very impacted their work life. Effects included: • job losses • salary cuts • working from home

to be enhanced by, ''living and working abroad'' and is one of the key reasons that individuals choose and HR departments encourage international assignments. So what happens now? In light of the current situation, as borders begin to reopen and the world takes cautious steps towards an uncertain future that is shaped around living with the pandemic, it will be interesting to see which new models for a globally mobile workforce will emerge.

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virus, these may seem like trivial, ''first-world'' problems. However, resolving the current disruption and dealing with the looming economic and environmental crises will require the collaboration across borders of the world''s best talent. Maximizing the potential of the complex and volatile global marketplace of the 21st Century also requires a range of international skills, perspectives and intercultural competence, along with a ''global mindset'' to lead and facilitate effective work and communication. The development of these skills and characteristics is shown

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For those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, many found they lost their right to live in their country of residence. Also, with many governments focussing their efforts on supporting the livelihoods of their own citizens, some expatriates ''fell between two stools'' – not meeting criteria for financial and job support schemes offered by their own government or the government of the country they are living and working in. With the world economy shrinking, many governments are focussing on supporting their own citizens, and foreigners are expected to bear the brunt of the redundancies forecast. Compared to the plights of those who have lost their loved ones or who have had their health drastically affected by the COVID-19

Resolving the current disruption and dealing with the looming economic and environmental crises will require the collaboration across borders of the world’s best talent

Joyce Jenkins; Managing Partner, Expert Humans. Research conducted by M. T. Claes, J. Jenkins, W. Ritter, J. Vegh SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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I N TERVIEW

‘Being honest helps ease the message about low or no pay rises’

Paul Johnstone, Head of Global Benefits, Orange Business Services, United Kingdom, in conversation with People Matters, talks about the evolving benefits landscape post-COVID-19 and managing rewards amid the financial setback for employees By Bhavna Sarin

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aul Johnstone, Head of Global Benefits, Orange Business Services, United Kingdom has more than 25 years of industry experience across a variety of international reward roles. With expertise in managing benefits programs, compensation & bonus planning up to and including executive level, team leadership, and extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, Paul is currently responsible for the global employee benefit plans of Orange Busi-

ness Services, in addition to his role as the Chair of Employee Benefits Committee for pension and Health & Welfare Benefit plans in the US and a trustee of pension plans in the UK and Ireland. Before joining Orange Business Services in 2017, Paul spent over two decades in GE serving in different leadership capacities across the UK and EMEA region. In this exclusive conversation with People Matters, Paul talks about the evolving benefits landscape, his


take on assessing employees' performance basis online presence vs results, and advises how employers should go about managing rewards if they’re unable to bounce back to previous pay levels.

office does not equal quantity of work completed'' had already embraced the concept of allowing their employees to structure their time themselves with the result that the only thing that matters is that the work is completed satisfactorily. This has led to these employers becoming increasingly attractive to the more effective employee. As the success of these initiatives becomes more widely

Employers who have recognized that 'time in the office does not equal quantity of work completed’ had already embraced the concept of allowing their employees to structure their time themselves with the result that the only thing that matters is that the work is completed satisfactorily

SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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What has been your biggest learning about yourself, your peers, and your leaders in the last six months? The acceptance of a higher degree of informality. With so many meetings taking place either via a video conferencing tool or by phone, people are more relaxed about dressing less formally, interruptions from young children, pets, spouses, noises from the street, etc. which has, in turn, led to an acceptance of a less structured way of working.

The colonial mindset around working from home being synonymous with lesser work being done has been challenged by the endless hours of work being put in by leaders, managers, and employees. Yet, the perception of the correlation between online visibility and the amount of work done prevails. What is your take on this? Employers who have recognized that ''time in the

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publicized, their competitors and other employers more broadly look for ways to copy these practices and thus attract these more effective employees. The result of this will be that this perception will become obsolete.

As business and HR leaders look to reset the workplace and people policies in the new reality of work, how

funded or require a small element of employee costsharing. Those that have become more financially stressed may well eliminate benefits altogether (except where they may be mandatory) and replace them with a budget that the employee can use to spend how they want. Such employers may provide easy access to a range of selected benefit providers, possibly setting a minimum

In many countries, employees already had a higher level of trust in their employer than in the government and COVID-19 has only reinforced this perception

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The economic impact of COVID-19 on all countries will accelerate the trend of governments to shift the responsibility for the provision of a range of services to employers and as a result employees will increasingly look to their employer to help them to meet their wellbeing needs. In many countries, employees already had a higher level of trust in their employer than in

is the benefits landscape changing? This will vary from business to business depending upon how successfully that business has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. Those that have done well (e.g. the tech sector) will likely look to introduce additional benefits that can support the physical, mental, and financial well-being of their employees. These additional benefits will be either fully | SEPTEMBER 2020

that the employee should spend on certain benefits (e.g. pension, healthcare, protection). This will allow them to strictly manage the budget available without being subject to annual increases caused by rises in the cost of the benefits.

How have the expectations of employees changed post-COVID-19 from their employers in terms of benefits?

the government and COVID19 has only reinforced this perception. As a result, the employee’s perception will be that they should look to their employer for their security, rather than the state.

Have you introduced any particular benefits to help employees navigate the current crisis? Did you face any challenges in implementing them? At Orange Business


With finances expected to be in a slump for an unpredictable period, what reward strategies can organizations consider to help employees navigate these challenging times? This is all going to come down to how employers communicate with their employees about this. Employees will understand that COVID-19 has had a severe financial impact on the global economy and their employer. Being honest about what can and can’t be done will help to ease the message about low or no pay rises. Line managers will also need to back this message up by demonstrating to their direct reports that they fully support the message and by ''putting their arm around

If we become better at explaining why we have provided a certain benefit then this will have a deeper meaning for the employee and thus reinforce the bond between our employees and us their employees'' to show understanding and empathy.

In your opinion, are organizations in a place today to explore alternative ways to compensate employees? Other than providing targeted cash rewards to those employees that have gone above and beyond to support the business through the crisis, I can’t see employers providing alternative compensation. What are your priorities with regard to adapting to the post-COVID-19 world? As with most companies,

we will be looking at how we can be more cost-effective with how we purchase our benefit programs, however for me, I believe that this situation has allowed us to change the approach that we take to how we talk to our employees about the benefits we provide. Our approach to providing benefits has been relatively passive, merely listing the benefits we provide. However, if we become better at explaining why we have provided a certain benefit then this will have a deeper meaning for the employee and thus reinforce the bond between our employees and us. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Services, we already had a global employee assistance plan (EAP) which we have leaned on to help us to deliver global webinars to our employees to help them to manage their mental well-being throughout the pandemic. Our provider is now helping us to prepare employees as they start to return to working in the office. Therefore, we have not introduced any new benefits, merely tweaking some to ensure that employees and their dependents had access to the right medical care should they need it.

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The never-before scenario of job losses globally makes it imperative to step up to the challenge of building a better future of work, together By Mastufa Ahmed

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SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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So, in the post-pandemic days, there may be jobs that get lost forever. On the other hand, there are some jobs that can become more important than ever. In fact, a new category of jobs may emerge altogether in the post-pandemic days. As employers, employees, and economies transform amid the COVID-19 times, it is essential to identify the jobs and more importantly skills that will be in demand and help the current and future workforce prepare for them. This is the moment when the governments, workers and employers should join and work together to build a sustainable future as we step into the future of work. The September issue attempts to analyze the current job scenario, its implications for businesses, and the way forward. It also looks at the future of jobs – skills, leadership traits that will be in demand, and more.

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he COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis with devastating effect on health, economy and society across countries. It has brought to fore the susceptibility of millions of employees and businesses across the globe. The impact of pandemic on the labor market shows alarming effect on workers and businesses worldwide. Between April-June 2020, the world lost almost 400 million fulltime jobs due to the pandemic, according to statistics released by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on June 30th, 2020. Almost 59 percent of full-time jobs have been exterminated in the APAC region, while South Asia accounted for 110 million of the total 235 million full-time jobs lost this quarter. The highly uncertain recovery in the second half of the year will not be enough to go back to pre-pandemic levels, even in the best scenario, warns the ILO.

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Employers, associations, and governments should collaborate to scope out redeployment of displaced workers: Analyst, WEF

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The degree to which job markets will be impacted will depend in part on approaches to taxing wages in different jurisdictions, the limitations of operating across different time zones, and the ecosystem for digital connectivity in different locations, says Dr. Vesselina Ratcheva of World Economic Forum, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed 48

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r. Vesselina Ratcheva is a Senior Data-Driven Researcher and Analyst at World Economic Forum (WEF) working to provide timely insights and practical recommendations to industry and policy leaders in the Platform for the New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum. Ratcheva is a co-author of the Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, Global Human Capital Report, Future of Jobs Report and Industry Gender Gap Report and in the past has led and collaborated on research projects spanning topics such as skills, identity (gender, ethnic), organizational culture, political mobilization, and international migration. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

How do you see the current situation triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of jobs and future employment prospects?


skills as remote workers face new types of pressures and stress. Another part of the equation is business reorienting to models that will be viable and profitable in the current context and in the economy of the future – part of the job recovery undoubtedly lies in a fundamental economic change.

Do you think the new work from home phenomenon can transform the job market? Will this give rise to a global competition for every single job role? Remote working is undoubtedly an important aspect of business conti-

nuity today. There are clear benefits of this transition for workers in the long-term, including balancing care and work responsibilities and moving to a more flexible work culture in the future of work. The degree to which job markets will be impacted will depend in part on approaches to taxing wages in different jurisdictions, the limitations of operating across different time zones, and the ecosystem for digital connectivity in different locations.

What are some of the top questions that leaders need to ask to prepare for the SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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With 400 million fulltime jobs lost due to the pandemic, according to ILO between April-June 2020, how can we rebuild and reimagine jobs amid the coronavirus crisis for businesses to stay future-ready? The shock to labor markets has caused significant pressure on businesses across specific industries with many workers losing their jobs, while others have transitioned to remote working. In developed economies, it is estimated that less than half of workers can perform their job remotely, though some job continuity has been driven by expanding the practice of remote work. However, remote working needs to be accompanied by appropriate training in selfmanagement and well-being

Early findings of the upcoming Future of Jobs 2020 Report of World Economic Forum suggest we will see some similarity with the 2018 edition of the report where we found that on average 10 percent of jobs would be displaced and that job destruction will be offset by a set of emerging professions

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Throughout history, different circumstances have affected the employment prospects of individuals and their well-being at work. As with previous recessions, the one caused by COVID19 has caused significant disruption to employment, from massive job losses to fundamental changes in how businesses manage their workforces. Early research indicates that the current disruption might be greater than the Financial Crisis a decade ago and the Great Depression experienced by the United States in the 1920s and 30s.

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future of work? What leadership traits will businesses need most in the postpandemic days? Two of our recent publications: “HR4.0: Shaping People Strategies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” and “Workforce Principles for the COVID-19 Pandemic” outline some of those key principles. This includes principles such as the need to prioritize empathic and personalized communication, to articulate key policies, actively

For businesses to stay adaptive, it is important to use data and foresight methods to track emerging trends and to adapt to the new normal. A large part of that adaptation is funding a refresh of workers’ skills with a focus on the competencies that will allow companies to stay at the frontier of their market listen to employees and ensure they are empowered to use new technologies and to lead with integrity and purpose. The current context invariably requires some level of work re-design and therefore a need to be responsible in the use of short-term contracts, to re-deploy talent in a positive way to make new progress to works reskilling and up-skilling in future-facing competencies.

How do you see the job landscape five years down 50

the line? Which jobs will be in demand and which ones you think can become redundant or transform? The World Economic Forum will soon publish an analysis of this in our upcoming Future of Jobs 2020 Report, but early findings suggest we will see some similarity with the 2018 edition of the report where we found that on average 10% of jobs would be displaced and that job destruction will be offset by a set of emerging profes-

| SEPTEMBER 2020

sions. The jobs displaced are still most likely to be ones that are easier to automate and based on routine rather than analysis, creativity, and innovation.

The WEF identified artificial intelligence specialists as the number one emerging data job in the future. According to LinkedIn Learning, artificial intelligence is a top hard skill for 2020. What's the implication of this trend for employers and employees? It highlights the need to

reskill and upskill workers towards stronger data science skills, a better understanding of artificial intelligence, and to expand digital literacy overall.

Adaptability may be the most essential skill in the COVID-19 world, as some experts say. How can businesses stay adaptive and embrace the new normal? How can employers, associations, and economies work together to improve the future of the job market? One clear trend is to use data and foresight methods to track emerging trends and to adapt to the new normal. A large part of that adaptation is funding a refresh of workers’ skills with a focus on the competencies that will allow companies to stay at the frontier of their market. While some skills are job-specific other crossfunctional skills can ensure workers are prepared to meet the challenges ahead. Those include self-management skills such as active learning, initiative and resilience, as well as problem solving skills such as analytical thinking, critical thinking, and reasoning. Employers, governments and worker’s associations can work together to map talent needs, plan re-skilling and upskilling and scope out redeployment of displaced workers. Today such collaborations are still nascent.


Jobs involving tech are likely to be in greater demand: Red Hat’s DeLisa Alexander

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With automation, AI, and edge computing, we are also using technology to address tactical business challenges. Moving forward, this could have a real impact on the job market as companies look for more workers skilled at developing and implementing their strategies, says DeLisa Alexander, Executive Vice President, and Chief People Officer at Red Hat, in an exclusive interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

eLisa Alexander serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer of Red Hat, leading the organization responsible for global human resources including Red Hat University. The organization's mission is to be a strategic partner to the business in acquiring, developing, and retaining talent and to enhance the Red Hat culture and talent brand. During Alexander's tenure, Red Hat has grown from 1,100 to 11,000+ associates and has been recognized as one of the best places to work in multiple publications around the globe. She serves on the executive committee for the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED); the board of directors for Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Innovate Raleigh; and the board of advisers for the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, Bull City Ventures, NC State University Poole College of Management, and SoarTriangle. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

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How do you see the impact of Covid-19 in the tech industry? How are you adapting to the changing times with respect to your business continuity plans, employee well-being measures, and meeting the evolving needs of customers? In 2020, organizations that were planning a staged approach to digital transformation are now finding themselves facing a rapid evolution. At the same time, companies that had previ-

it is a common belief that jobs are lost in automation adoption. However, automation tools also require skilled workers to operate them, repair them, and upskill them. Businesses need to ensure that their employees are participating in learning programs and provide them ample opportunities to grow and reskill themselves ously been limited in teleworking options, due to structural, organizational, or regulatory reasons, are now finding workforces completely distributed by necessity. Whatever plans or processes business had in place have now gone by the wayside, but it’s up to Red Hat and other leaders in digital technologies to help our customers address these new dynamics. This could mean simply keeping operations up-and-running or it could mean extending on-demand services

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to address a new or evolving market. Either way, the IT community needs to be ready to support these rapid shifts. Every organization maintains an IT landscape that is unique to their needs, so it’s not a stretch to say that there’s no silver bullet in the face of this global change. Instead, we need to reach our customers and adapt to their new requirements wherever and whatever they are.

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We’ve used this situation to shore up our business continuity work to make sure that customers can count on us through this crisis. Some of our customers have needed support from Red Hat in different ways than they have before. A few of the ways we’ve here to help include: • Shifting many of our training classes to be virtually-led and introduced remote exam options for some of our most popular certifications. We’ve also

increased flexibility for canceling or rescheduling previously scheduled classes or exams, and extended expiration dates for all certifications; Offering free trials of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform that can automate up to 100 nodes, to help even more organizations to automate what they can so that they can keep their focus on the biggest priorities; Making Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces, from the Red Hat Developer program, available as a free download; Providing Technical Account Management (TAM) services for new customers billed at a 50% discount; and Extending product life cycles across portions of the Red Hat portfolio.

When it comes to our associates, the rather rapid decision that we made to require everyone to work from home, was certainly unprecedented and pushed us to quickly change processes across the globe. This includes virtual hiring and onboarding; virtual development experiences; and virtual events and celebrations. We work together to maintain a culture that prioritizes safety, well-being, and kindness. One of the most important things we have done is communicate to associates


What I see in the future is a move from companies to incorporate more flexibility into their workplaces and their policies. This type of workplace will become a perk for workers when job searching in the future and managers that we all need to adopt a mindset of flexibility right now. with stressors and uncertainty. At Red Hat, we’ve always maintained the importance of a work-life balance. One thing we noticed this year is that associates weren’t taking their PTO since social distancing has prevented a lot of travel. So we instituted a quarterly “recharge day” during which we ask the whole company to take the day off. As a leader our most important job is to remind people that we are always there for them, to help and support them. A pinch of reassurance can give the courage to cross miles.

Between April-June 2020, the world lost almost 400 million full-time jobs due to the pandemic, according to ILO. How can we rebuild and reimagine jobs amid the coronavirus crisis for SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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associates to share what they are able to do and what their challenges are so that they can help prioritize, and de-risk the situation. In this current environment, I think probably the Open Management Practice that is most important is "Creating an environment of respect, belonging, and mutual support." It is foundational for an inclusive meritocracy and the idea that people can contribute even if their style of thinking, language, or location are different. Above all, we look to managers to set the tone for their teams, providing the context so they understand the goals and strategy of the company, as well as how the individual fits in. Nowadays there’s another piece. Setting the understanding that it’s okay to be human, because we all are dealing

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How do you see the overall role of business leaders and People managers evolving to prepare for the post-pandemic times? What strategies are you embracing in terms of talent management and ensuring employee productivity in this time of uncertainty? The role of a people manager is one that we take very seriously at Red Hat. We often say that everyone is a leader, but not everyone is a manager. During this time our managers and our associates are working together in new ways and having to adjust expectations. It’s about finding a balance between getting the work done, in the tried and trusted ways we have done before, and realizing that the world has changed and how we work has to shift as well. Managers need to make it safe for

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businesses to stay futureready? Among our customers, we see acceleration across some industries--telecommunications and retail, for example. And we see deceleration across others, such as travel and leisure. We know that it will take time for workers impacted by these shifts to upskill. Regardless of whether an organization is accelerating or decelerating, to not just survive but thrive in the future, organizations must learn to be flexible and increase their ability to adapt to changing environments. This means having to continually unlearn old rules and behaviors and learning new ones. That requires questioning assumptions about how things work, challenging existing paradigms, and learning what is most important in a job, product, career, and industry. Today, we are on the cusp of a new automation era; it is vital that organizations collaborate remotely and increase productivity by automating numerous small tasks. Although it is a common belief that jobs are lost in automation adoption. However, automation tools also require skilled workers to operate them, repair them, and upskill them. Businesses need to ensure that their employees are participating in learning | SEPTEMBER 2020

programs and provide them ample opportunities to grow and re-skill themselves.

In this crisis situation, there is a growing emphasis on workforce reskilling. How can organizations harness agile learning techniques to reskill employees for the larger digital transformation? The pandemic has made

Organizations around the globe are coming to the realization that adopting a more open culture is a business imperative, especially when they are looking to drive digital transformation, innovation, and attract the talent they need to succeed this question more urgent for many organizations. The surprising benefit of our current situation is that there are so many more ways for people to learn new skills and expand their knowledge. Universities and colleges have moved online and the availability of training classes is robust. Learning is not canceled. Beyond the individual, there is a growing need for organizations to become more agile and be able to

face uncertainty and come out strong. I’ve met with a variety of customers and while each of them is different, their problems are similar. What’s most interesting is that the conversations ultimately come back to the fact that their issues aren’t purely technological. They are, more often than not, people problems. Organizations around the globe are coming to the realization that adopting a more open culture is a business imperative, especially when they are looking to drive digital transformation, innovation, and attract the talent they need to succeed. For the customers I talk to, they often feel the hardest part is determining where to start. The good news is that there’s no one way to be open; instead, there are degrees of openness. What works for us may not work for you. At Red Hat, we default to open, which means we are open unless there’s a reason not to be. But each organization has to look inward and determine specific processes or working teams where a more open approach could be adopted. Start small and as your teams become more comfortable working openly, build on those efforts. It’s like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it becomes.


challenges and needs. Looking to the future, this could have a real impact on the job market as companies look for more workers skilled at developing and implementing their strategies.

ciates who may have just had a baby, have children in the home, or perhaps are caring for other family members. This type of workplace will become a perk for workers when job searching in the future. The concept of work-fromhome has now normalized and could see this trend grow in the next five years when compared to where we were in say 2019. Most companies are becoming a tech company in some way. So jobs involving technology are likely to be in greater demand. With automation, artificial intelligence, and edge computing, we are also using technology to address tactical business

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How do you see the job landscape, five years down the line? Which jobs will be in demand and which ones do you think can become redundant or transform? The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work and there is a chance that some of these changes are here to stay. Many companies and workers have realized that work is running relatively seamlessly even while working remotely. What I see in the future is a move from companies to incorporate more flexibility into their workplaces and their policies. For instance, more flexible and remote work options are helpful for asso-

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The concept of work-from-home has now normalized and could see this trend grow in the next five years when compared to where we were in say 2019

Lastly, as a leader how are you ensuring that you keep calm, sail through, and help others in this tough time? Share your tips for HR leaders. The most important thing any leader can do for themselves is to prioritize yourself. Seems strange to say when so many of us are used to putting the job first, but if you’re burnt out, you aren’t any good to your team. Make sure you’re taking time to eat properly, exercise (even a short stroll around the neighborhood can help!), unplug from your email for a bit and even take time to do nothing at all. When you’re rested and take care of your own mental health, you’re going to be a better leader and a better person. Once you have yourself in order, make sure you’re thinking about your team’s mental health too. Being authentic with your team is also important. Managers are people too. We are all dealing with unique challenges and pressures that we have to balance. Allow yourself to be real, and allow your team to support you too. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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It's time to future-proof your workforce for the digital era: Citi's Joel Fastenberg

Organizations around the globe have scrambled to adapt and rebuild amid the disruption brought by COVID-19. Now, they need to start planning for yet another round of adaptation to the postpandemic world of work, says Joel Fastenberg, the Head of Human Resources for Singapore and ASEAN, Citi, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

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oel Fastenberg is the Head of Human Resources for Singapore and ASEAN. He was appointed to the role in May 2020. Based in Singapore, Joel is responsible for leading the Human Resources strategy in Citi’s ASEAN markets

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of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. He also serves as a member of the Citi Management Committee in Singapore, Citi Country Coordinating Committee for Singapore and the ASEAN Management team. Joel joined Citi in 2011 and was the Head of Human Resources for Citigroup Japan before taking on this role. He brings to Citi over two decades of Human Resources experience across the financial services industry in New York and Tokyo. Here are the edited excerpts of the interview.

How do you see the impact of COVID-19 on the banking and financial services industry? How are you adapting to the changing times in terms of business continuity, employee well-being, and meeting the evolving needs of customers? We are facing a public health crisis with severe economic ramifications. When it comes to the way in which we work and serve our clients, the pandemic has challenged us to re-examine


our processes. What we are seeing is that our investments in the digital transformation of our bank is paying off, as our client’s own business models have evolved with technology, resulting in more of them turning to our digital solutions and services. From our employee perspective, we have a significant proportion of people working from home. Prior to COVID-19, few would have thought this to be possible for a bank. For those of us at home, we have had to shift our mindsets in terms of how to do our work and we have had to adjust quickly and be flexible. COVID-19 is stressful for many and we have made it a priority to help colleagues adapt to the ‘new normal’. Since the pandemic, we have rolled out a number of initiatives to help our employees manage their mental and physical health. These include webinars on a range of topics such as how to maintain work-life balance, take care of their own health, and stay connected with colleagues and friends when working remotely. We have also held regular town halls and coffee chats to preserve the twoway conversations needed to sustain our organizational culture.

management and ensuring employee productivity? I see it centered around two areas. The first is open communication and the second is ensuring trust. Managers need to make their goals and targets for their staff clear especially when it comes to cultivating new capabilities and skills on top of performance assessment. Even during these times, continued development is essential to build a strong talent pipeline. However, managers need to find the balance between the two. Above all, they need to show empathy and factor in the unusual and difficult times that everyone is going through right now. By having open and clear communication channels, managers can build trust within their teams and this benefits both parties. Managers can trust that their employees are working towards the agreed upon

goals and employees can trust that they will be evaluated in a fair and appropriate manner. A strategy we use at Citi to accomplish this and build a stronger performance culture is by enabling continuous feedback opportunities all year round. Staff can request for feedback at any point as well as offer it to anyone in the organization. Continuous feedback provides staff with guideposts throughout the year to help reach their goals.

How do you see the overall role of business leaders and people managers evolving to prepare for the postpandemic times? Business leaders and people managers need to ensure that their staff remains relevant in terms of knowledge and capabilities post-COVID-19. Even as the world already finds itself in the height of the 4th

What strategies are you embracing in terms of talent SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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industrial revolution, the pandemic has injected added urgency to equip staff with the ability to be more adaptable and innovative in times of change to meet future business needs. In the past few months at Citi, there has also been an increased focus on equipping managers and staff with the skills to better care for both their psychological and physiological wellbeing. This has been well received and we expect this increased focus to continue post-pandemic.

way we work every day. Businesses and workers who aren’t willing to adapt and embrace new technology will find it increasingly difficult to stay relevant. Structuring jobs and business models for the digital age will be critical for all to thrive in the future.

Between April-June 2020, the world lost almost 400 million full-time jobs due to the pandemic, according to ILO. How can we rebuild and reimagine jobs amid the coronavirus crisis for businesses to stay futureready? A big trend that the world has seen throughout the pandemic has been the accelerated adoption of digital services to help reduce avoidable physical interactions. We believe that this is a shift in consumer behavior that will continue beyond the pandemic as clients continue to discover the ease and convenience that digital services bring. As a consequence of this shift, digital skills will be required by employees doing just about every job since technology is being progressively embedded into the | SEPTEMBER 2020

Business leaders and people managers need to ensure that their staff remains relevant in terms of knowledge and capabilities post-COVID-19. How can employees be equipped with the ability to be more adaptable and innovative in times of change to meet future business needs?

How do you see the job landscape five years down the line? Which jobs will be in demand and which ones you think can become redundant or transform?

As we continue to ride the digital wave, there will be more jobs on this front. The growing role of big data in the economy and business to drive decision making will create a significant need for statisticians and data analysts. Other opportunities on the digital front include Cyber Security, Full-stack developers and UX/UI Designers. These are all jobs that will be critical for an organization to thrive in the digital world. Beyond digital skills, employers are still looking for individuals who possess

‘soft skills’ such as Relationship Management, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Innovation, and Creativity. This will be especially so in industries that still require a high-touch presence. Due to the increasing adoption of technology to aid workers in more physical, repetitive and basic cognitive tasks, jobs that deal with analog processing will decrease. We have seen this across industries where paper-based workflows are now being digitalized and automated.

How can organizations harness agile learning techniques to reskill employees for the larger digital transformation? At Citi, we had started utilizing several agile learning techniques. The pandemic has only hastened this transformation. At a very basic level, all learning this year will be conducted virtually. Courses have been restructured to preserve participant interaction as well as to have shorter bite-sized segments with longer breaks, enabling participants to tend to their


moment, employees have been extremely productive while working remotely, we believe that this is largely due to the capital that has been accumulated from prior face to face meetings and relationship building. As remote working continues, companies may also soon start to find staff struggling with feelings of isolation that can have long term effects on work output. Secondly, “How do we enable remote collaboration across teams?” While the greatest value that the office has is bringing people together to collaborate, safe distancing guidelines look to be staying with us

for the foreseeable future. The future of work must be able to continue to spark the innovation and creativity that is enabled by collaboration. Leaders need to consider how they continue to drive a culture of innovation and the tools needed to do so. Lastly, “What mindset shifts are needed for the future of work?” We have already begun to see conversations spring up around work-life balance, setting boundaries, performance management and collaboration as the world shifts to remote working. It is critical to continue developing these changes and adjustments. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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The level of uncertainty and unfamiliarity COVID-19 crisis has brought with it is unique in its own way. What are some of the top questions that leaders need to ask to prepare for the future of work as we strive hard to come out stronger from this pandemic? Three questions come to mind. Firstly, “How can we create a safe workplace for our staff to return to?” Building office spaces where staff feel comfortable and safe should be a top priority. While at the

The accelerated adoption of digital services means that digital skills will be required by employees doing just about every job. Businesses and workers who aren’t willing to adapt and embrace new technology will find it increasingly difficult to stay relevant

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other needs. We have taken a blended approach in continuing group learning courses as well as encouraging employees to take advantage of digital learning platforms that we have at Citi, such as Degreed. Thus far, we have seen an encouraging response to our transition to digital learning. Staff are now experiencing first-hand the flexibility that comes with engaging with training virtually. We hope that this encouraging response will translate to a sustained increase in employees utilizing the digital learning platforms which offer on-demand consumable micro-learning that is short and easy to digest. Over time, the utilization of these platforms will build a stronger culture of learning where employees don’t wait for the yearly training cycle to learn new skills.

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OECD’s Andreas Schleicher on skills and jobs

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improve education. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards and holds an honorary Professorship at the University of Heidelberg. Here, he shares some thoughts on skills and the future of work. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

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To succeed with converting education into better jobs and lives, we need to better understand skills that drive outcomes and ensure that the right skill mix is being learned over the lifecycle, and help economies to make good use of those skills, says Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, OECD, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

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ndreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills at the OECD. He initiated and oversees the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international instruments that have created a global platform for policy-makers, researchers, and educators across nations and cultures to innovate and transform educational policies and practices. He has worked for over 20 years with ministers and education leaders to

To come out stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, there is a growing emphasis on workforce reskilling. How can organizations harness agile learning techniques to reskill employees for the larger digital transformation? This trend started long before COVID-19, the latter has just accelerated it. Skills have become the global currency of 21st-century economies. But this “currency” can depreciate as the requirements of labor markets evolve and individuals lose the skills they do not use, and both are what the COVID19 pandemic reinforces. For skills to retain their value, they must be continuously developed throughout life. Furthermore, the toxic coexistence of unemployed graduates and employers who


How can the education system match this changing demand? One area where many nations could learn from countries like Denmark, Germany, Norway, or Switzerland is to shift more of the premium in education from qualifications-focused education upfront to skillsoriented learning throughout life. OECD’s Learning for Jobs analysis shows that skill development is far more effective if the world of learning and the world of work are linked. Compared to purely governmentdesigned curricula taught exclusively in schools, learning in the workplace allows people to develop “hard” skills on modern equipment, and “soft” skills such as teamwork, communication, and negotiation through real-world experience.

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major shifts in the economic underpinnings of industrialized countries and, more recently, of many emerging and developing countries, too. Importantly, the steepest decline in skill demand is no longer in the area of manual skills but in routine cognitive skills. When we can access the world’s knowledge on the Internet, when routine skills are being digitized or outsourced, and when jobs are changing rapidly, accumulating knowledge matters less, and success becomes increasingly about ways of thinking—creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and judgment—about ways of working—collaboration and teamwork—and about the sociocultural tools that enable us to interact with the world.

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say that they cannot find the people with the skills they need underlines that more education does not automatically translate into better economic and social outcomes. To succeed with converting education into better jobs and lives, we need to better understand what those skills are that drive outcomes, ensure that the right skill mix is being learned over the lifecycle, and help economies to make good use of those skills. The essential starting point for that is to better anticipate and respond to the evolution of skill demand. Government and business need to work together to gather evidence about skill demand, present, and future, which can then be used to develop up-to-date instructional systems and to inform education and training systems. During the past few decades, there have been

The steepest decline in skill demand is no longer in the area of manual skills but in routine cognitive skills. Success is increasingly about ways of thinking, ways of working, and about the sociocultural tools that enable us to interact with the world SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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The experience of these countries also suggests that hands-on workplace training is an effective way to motivate disengaged youth to re-engage with education and smoothen the transition to work. They succeed with preventing school dropout by offering more relevant education and secondchance opportunities, and by offering work experience to young people before they leave education. Employers have an important role in training their own staff, even if some, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, get public assistance to provide such training. Trade unions in these countries

also help to shape education and training, protect the interests of existing workers, ensure that those in work use their skills adequately, and see that investments in training are reflected in better-quality jobs and higher salaries.

Between employers and the education system, where is the greater effectiveness and responsibility to prepare people for the future of work? It is clear that skills need to become everyone’s business. Governments, which can design financial incentives and favorable tax policies that encourage individuals and employers to invest

It is clear that skills need to become everyone’s business: not just individuals and employers but governments, education systems, labor unions, financial systems—entire countries in fact

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in post-compulsory education and training; education systems, which can foster entrepreneurship as well as offer vocational training; employers, who can invest in learning; labor unions, which help that investments in training are reflected in better-quality jobs and higher salaries; and individuals, who can take better advantage of learning opportunities. Countries also need to take a hard look at who should pay for what, when, and how. Some individuals can shoulder more of the financial burden for tertiary education, and funding can be linked more closely to graduation rates, provided individuals have access to income-contingent loans and means-tested grants.

With the resources of so many different parties available to be drawn on, where should we start? There are some really concrete steps that countries can take to dismantle barriers to participation in continued education and training: First, making the returns on adult education and training more transparent can help to increase the motivation of users to invest in it. Governments can provide better information about the economic benefits (including wages net of taxes, employment,


Third, clear certification of learning outcomes and recognition of non-formal learning are also incentives for training. Transparent standards, embedded in a framework of national qualifications, should be developed alongside reliable assessment procedures. Recognition of prior learning can also reduce the time needed to obtain a certain qualification and thus the cost of foregone earnings. Fourth, it is important to ensure that programs are relevant to users and are flexible enough, both in content and in how they are delivered to adapt to

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and productivity) and noneconomic benefits (including self-esteem and increased social interaction) of adult learning. Second, less-educated individuals tend to be less aware of education and training opportunities or may find the available information confusing. A combination of easily searchable, up-todate online information, and personal guidance and counseling services to help individuals define their own training needs and identify the appropriate programs is needed, as is information about possible funding sources.

How can we ensure that all this reskilling and continuous learning will result in a good outcome for workers? Building skills is still the easier part; far tougher is providing opportunities for young people to use their skills. Employers may need to offer greater flexibility in the workplace. Labor unions may need to reconsider their stance on rebalancing employment protection for permanent and temporary workers. Enterprises need reasonably long trial periods to enable employers giving those youth who lack work experience a chance to prove themselves and facilitate a transition to regular employment. The bottom line is that unused human capital represents a waste of skills and of the initial investment in those skills. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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A combination of easily searchable, up-todate online information, and personal guidance and counseling services to help individuals define their own training needs and identify the appropriate programs is needed, as is information about possible funding sources

adults’ needs. A number of countries have recently introduced one-stop shopping arrangements, with different services offered in the same institution. This approach is particularly cost effective as it consolidates infrastructure and teaching personnel and makes continuing education and training more convenient. Distance learning and the open educational resources approach have significantly improved users’ ability to adapt their learning to their lives.

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Leaders need to harness uncertainty: Dave Ulrich

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It’s time for business and HR leaders to learn to harness uncertainty to be able to help individuals and organizations prosper in the unknowable new normal By Mastufa Ahmed

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ave Ulrich is the Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and a partner at The RBL Group, a consulting firm focused on helping organizations and leaders deliver value. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Dave talks about jobs, changing nature of work, and reveals new leadership insights that lead to being better leaders,

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building shared leadership, and creating a personal leadership brand. Here are the excerpts.

How do you see the current situation triggered by the COVID-119 pandemic in terms of jobs, employee well-being, business continuity, and the future of work? The pandemic has dramatically affected the entire world like nothing we have seen. There has been much written

about the impact of the pandemic on personal and work lives. The coronavirus has affected every person on earth—over seven billion people. Think about it! Other crises from world wars to famines to political revolutions to economic turmoil have affected only pockets of people, but no one seems immune to this virus. The common denominators of physical health, psychological well-being, and social support cut across geographic, religious, economic, and social borders. Amid this pandemic and the environment of uncertainty and confusion, there are some common approaches leaders can adapt to help individuals and organizations navigate through the crisis. This is the time to ask the right questions and find solutions to them. How has the pandemic affected you? How are you feeling with pandemic consequences? How are you as an organization showing increased care for your customers? What have you learned during this crisis? Given current circumstances, what do you


who provide resources. In this pandemic, I think that the ultimate source of “peace” (personally and professionally) comes from within, not from outside.

Do you think the new work from home phenomenon can transform the job market? Will this give rise

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With 400 million fulltime jobs lost due to the pandemic, according to ILO between April-June 2020, how can we rebuild and reimagine jobs amid the coronavirus crisis for businesses to stay future-ready? Jobs and the nature of work has some basic principles that are the same and some that differ. The same principle applies: a job (or work) exists when someone is willing to pay for the product or service one produces. Business and HR leaders’ primary challenge is to create goods and services that will succeed in the marketplace. Without a marketplace, there is no workplace. And, with the

series of cumulative crises (corona pandemic, racial strife, and economic downturn), the marketplace has pivoted expectations. Some jobs are growing (e.g., digital, technology, emotional caregiving) and others are clearly shrinking (travel, entertainment, advisory business). Employees, and

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want most, which defines your success? What can you do now to make progress? What can we do now to explore new opportunities? As an organization, how can you create an environment of caring? Who can you thank today? While each person responds differently to similar pandemic demands, these ideas might guide leaders as they help individuals and organizations navigate this (and other) crisis. I hope in the coming years, we will look back on these difficult times with a sense of awe at the insights and opportunities we gained from grappling with and overcoming our challenges.

organizations where they work, have a shared obligation and opportunity to reinvent to create success in the marketplace.

The impact of COVID19 on work is far more profound than we think it is. How can employers, associations, and economies work together to improve the future of the job market? I think that the ultimate accountability for work rests with the employee, with support from employers, associates, and governments

to a global competition for every single job role? Working virtually is not new, but dramatically expanded. The boundaries of work are shifting from “place” to “values.” This means that no matter where one works (home, remote office, hotel, coffee shop, traditional home office, etc.), there are expectations that shape the boundaries of work. These expectations are about the value created for the customer. So the question is: no matter where you worked today, what did SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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5. Personalize employee experiences 6. Hear others to express empathy (avoid “isms”) 7. Empower others to build their brand 8. Create psychological safety 9. Navigate paradox 10. Be transparent and renew

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As a starting list, these ten insights build on our Leadership Code research and

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Business and HR leaders’ primary challenge is to create goods and services that will succeed in the marketplace. Without a marketplace, there is no workplace. And, with the series of cumulative crises (corona pandemic, racial strife, and economic downturn), the marketplace has pivoted expectations. Some jobs are growing like in digital and others are clearly shrinking such as travel and entertainment you do to create value for your organization’s customers? This question defines the emerging boundary of “doing” work. I also envision an ecosystem of where work is done but the connecting lines in the ecosystem are shared commitments to creating value for customers. Employees will have greater discretion about where and how they work, not about what work they do. What are the most important leadership skills needed to succeed in the workforce, post-COVID-19? Which skills will be most challenging to teach at scale? | SEPTEMBER 2020

The concentrated challenges from the continual crises reveal new leadership insights that lead to being better leaders, building shared leadership, and creating a personal leadership brand. Let me propose Leadership Code 3.0 to capture 10 leader requirements for discovering and maximizing opportunities in crises. 1. Create information asymmetry by separating signal from noise 2. Harness uncertainty 3. Create the “right” culture (outside-in, the value of values) 4. Provide guidance to impact decision making

may apply to an individual wanting to be a better leader, to all leaders creating a leadership capability throughout an organization, and to an organization creating personal leadership brand beyond the work setting. And, I think the paradox of soft skills will become even more critical. Over the years, we have worked with organizations to attain both technical or “hard” skills (like operational excellence, software engineering, market planning, financial analysis) and “soft” skills (such as resilience, cultural sensitivity, relationship savvy, and leadership).


Turn mindset from threat into opportunity

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Affilicate with a community to share process, insights, and accountability

Tame hen Appre sions

ly

Harness Uncertainty

Make better choices and decisions based on information

In the 4th Industrial Revolution, data is a critical asset for every company. Do you think professionals with data literacy will be even more appealing to prospective employers than ever before? Totally agree with information (not just data). We have worked for 14 months to create an Organization Guid-

Anticipate future success and what can be

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How do you see the job landscape five years down the line? Which jobs will be in demand and which

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to continue to excel as an engineer through countless interpersonal challenges, organizational upheavals, and broad market changes is essential. These “soft” skills are often more difficult to define, master, and deliver.

ance System that will offer business and HR leaders insights about which initiatives in talent, leadership, organization, and HR will deliver key results. We have recently completed the pilot and are sharing preliminary findings. Organization Guidance System (OGS) that can be used by business and HR leaders to provide coursecorrecting to enable more effective organizations. An Organization Guidance

ion v is En future e th

The boundaries of work are shifting from ‘place’ to ‘values’. This means that no matter where one works (home, remote office, hotel, coffee shop, traditional home office, etc.), there are expectations that shape the boundaries of work. These expectations are about the value created for the customer

ones you think can become redundant or transform? The nature of uncertainty is that we don’t really know. No one could have predicted the challenges of COVID-19 in January 2020. I think leaders need to harness uncertainty and here are six ways to do so. • Tame apprehensions • Envision the future • Regulate expectations • Experiment nimbly • Guide choices • Collaborate frequently

Coll f re q a b o r ue at nt

Ideally, individuals have both hard and soft skills. Hard skills, often gained through formal training, are more discernible and measurable. But the softer skills acquired from experience often have a longerterm impact on results. Being technically proficient as a software engineer on a specific project is valuable, but knowing how

Avoid disappointment through realistic expectations

Discover innovative ideas and solutions

System is a bold ambition. It combines and moves beyond scorecards that report what has happened, dashboards that offer current information, and predictive analytics that show what might happen into an integrated guidance system that enables more effective organizations. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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In times of crisis, talent reveals itself: David Michels, Bain

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In this exclusive interaction, David Michels, Partner, Senior Partner and the Global Leader for Results Delivery, Bain talks about how, in the postpandemic days, there may be jobs that get lost forever, and then there may be jobs that can become more important than ever, and shares his perspective on this shifting equation By Mastufa Ahmed

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ith 25 years of consulting experience spanning the globe, including the United States, Argentina, Germany, India and currently Switzerland, David Michels is a Senior Partner and the Global Leader for Bain’s Results DeliveryŽ practice, based in Zurich. Michels joined Bain 25 years ago and has worked with a wide variety of organizations, leading largescale programs on topics

including operating model, growth strategy, commercial business model development, culture change and team effectiveness, as well as operational improvement. He is known for his ability to inspire executives and their teams and roll up his sleeves to help them deliver sustained results. His approach to co-creating pragmatic solutions combines insight-rich analytics, leadership coaching and delivery risk mitigation to address the what, who and how of change. Michels’ work has spanned a range of industries, including healthcare, industrials, consumer products, retail, private equity and high technology. He is a frequent author and speaker on leadership, transformation and change. In this exclusive interaction, Michels talks about how, in the post-pandemic days, there may be jobs that get lost forever, and then there may be jobs that can become more important than ever, and shares his perspective on this shifting equation Here are the excerpts from the interview.


The latest data on the labor market impact of the COVID-19 tells us the disturbing effect on workers and millions of enterprises worldwide. Between April-June 2020, the world lost almost 400 million full-time jobs due to the pandemic, according to ILO. What's the need of the hour given this never-before situation? We need two things: strong leadership, and massive re-skilling programs. On leadership, we see the difference good leadership can make, both in the public and private sectors. During times of anxiety and adversity, strong leaders stand out for their empathy, transparent communication, and humility. They are flexible, able to shift based on what the latest data or science says. All our research shows that leaders who trust and empower their teams unleash tremendous energy and potential. In the public arena look at examples like Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, Angela Merkel

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I see many organizations moving quickly to take on this challenge. One global company, for example, has taken a very deliberate set of steps to prepare themselves to come out stronger on the other side. They call their first step “reflection and gratitude”. This is a conscious act to collect and share stories from the front line, like one manager who re-redesigned supply chains on her dining room table. The second step is “culture and purpose”, believing strongly that the values they demonstrated during COVID-19 are so powerful that they want to harvest that energy and embed it into their ways of working going forward. The third step is “strategic transformation”, with a set of portfolio moves that will make their business stronger coming out of the crisis.

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The COVID-19 outbreak is different from any previous crisis and hence the way leaders respond to this crisis should be different. How do you see the current business landscape and their readiness to come through stronger on the other side? I’m hopeful. What’s different this time is that I think the world is coming to the realization that this is not a one-time event, but rather the start of a “new normal” in which flexibility and agility are king. Businesses are increasingly operating in an environment of constant crises, be that a pandemic as we are in now, trade wars, natural disasters, terrorist events, data breaches, social unrest, etc. The job of business leaders today is to build organizations that will thrive in a world of unpredictable and accelerating change.

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in Germany, and Andrew Cuomo in New York. I see many similar examples of great leadership in business – we need more of that. At the same time, this is a wake-up call for governments and businesses alike to change the way we approach training and skill building. The half-life of management skills had already been precipitously declining pre-COVID-19. Artificial intelligence (AI) is fundamentally changing the nature of jobs and we need to catch up. Unfortunately, public and private spending on re-skilling programs has hardly budged. Companies need to cultivate an ability to train and retrain their workforce on new skills on an ongoing basis – both advanced technical skills as well as the human skills that go along with them. I see many organizations doing some really innovative things here, but much more is needed.

In the post-pandemic days, there may be jobs that get lost forever, and then there may be jobs that can become more important than ever. In fact, a new category of jobs may emerge altogether in the postpandemic days. How do you see this shifting equation? How do you see the job landscape five years down the line? I think organizations will | SEPTEMBER 2020

The emergency need to work from home is already beginning to usher in a much more hybrid type of work environment increasingly need multifaceted workers. I call this the π-shaped future, using the Greek letter pi to represent a broad mastery of general management skills atop a few spikes of deep functional or domain expertise. With competition and complexity on the rise, workers’ best hope is to develop a number of truly distinctive, differentiating capabilities – what you might call “spikes”. At the same time, organizations of the future will also need general business skills and will put a premium on leaders who can cope with ambiguity, be creative, think strategically, work across functions, and offer coaching and inspira-

tion. As technology accelerates the pace of change, leaders must be comfortable working on a range of topics and with broad sets of stakeholders from different parts of the business. Perhaps ironically, it is precisely because of increased automation and AI that these very human skills are now so critical.

Do you think the new work from home phenomenon can transform the job market? How do you see the overall impact of this new form of WFH? It’s for sure going to change it, and I think change for good. The emergency need to work from


More broadly, data suggest that organizations able to adapt to these new ways of working more quickly will outperform their competitors. At Bain, we’ve created a simple index to measure an organization’s ability to change, simply called Change Power. We’ve looked at dozens of companies across industries and geographies – those with greater Change Power report higher levels of growth, profitability, and employee satisfaction relative to their competitors. COVID-19 has put this to the test. Since the lockdown in March (for a majority of advanced economies at least), companies with high Change Power have outperformed those with lower Change Power by more than 10% in terms of total shareholder value, with correspondingly higher results in terms of management approval and culture ratings.

Do you think organizations need to invest in effec-

tive long-term remoteworking foundations and revamp their upskilling approaches by embracing an agile approach to strategic workforce planning? Absolutely. Organizations are like a rubber band. People within them can stretch when needed for a period of time, but unless the organization fundamentally changes, it’s going to snap back to its previous form. So now that we are several months into COVID19, executives are beginning to confront a new challenge – how to bottle up the positive changes made so far during the crisis and make them permanent. Many organizations have shown remarkable agility in the face of the pandemic so far. Nearly three-quarters of employees we surveyed report that their teams are working with greater agility. Prioritization has improved, the concept of creating a minimum viable product and then improving on that has been embraced. For some, cross-functional teaming has grown. But much of this recent adoption has been ad hoc. Now is the time for organizations to formally embed agile rituals and routines and implement new ways of working in a more structured way. COVID-19 has exposed the inequalities of our societies. So, how do we build a SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Post COVID-19, will enterprises become more resilient because of a fully distributed model, and will employees become more productive because of flexibility over their schedules as they work remotely? No question that the pandemic has dramatically accelerated distributed working – an experiment unparalleled in modern times. The results so far have been by and large positive, and a majority of employees do not want to go back. Before the pandemic, for example, only 30% of white-collar employees preferred to work remote. Now that they have lived the experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, that number has jumped to 75%.

Those organizations who are able to tap into that discretionary pool of creative and solution-oriented energy from their workforce will innovate and adapt at a much faster rate

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home is already beginning to usher in a much more hybrid type of work environment. While we may see perhaps 10-20% of people working remotely full time after COVID-19, the bigger shift will be towards hybrid models in which people work from home 2 or 3 days a week. That has implications for collaboration, innovation, how teams work together, and how managers can effectively oversee groups that are often dispersed. I’m confident that it will also support better work-life balance, also with positive implications for society as a whole.

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In times of crisis, talent reveals itself, and COVID-19 is helping companies recognize those who create disproportional value for the organization better normal that supports the most vulnerable first? We need the right kind of leadership. I think there’s a certain humanizing element that COVID-19 has brought to the surface, and I hope that it will take hold and propel us as a society to do better. At a time when empathy and authenticity are most needed – remember the saying that during times of stress people need to know that you care before they care what you know – it is a reminder for all of us the difference that one person can make on the lives of others. Beyond this current pandemic, we see technological, demographic and | SEPTEMBER 2020

macroeconomic disruptions that are changing our world and spurring a call for greater corporate and civic responsibility. I think those organizations who use the current crisis to reflect, learn and adapt will be best positioned to emerge stronger, with purpose, and better able to respond to the challenges ahead.

How do you see the overall role of HR and people managers evolving amid this pandemic and what’s the way forward for people and talent managers to make the most of this situation? The role of HR and people managers is and will continue to be pivotal for a

bunch of reasons – let me highlight two. First, there’s a real battle for energy out there. Those organizations who are able to tap into that discretionary pool of creative and solution-oriented energy from their workforce will innovate and adapt at a much faster rate. HR teams can be powerful facilitators by creative platforms for real engagement and exchange. You can think of the CHRO as the Chief Energy Officer. Second, the strategic deployment of human talent is more critical than ever. The reality is that the severity and speed of COVID-19 has forced a dramatic change in the way businesses organize their workforces. With the utmost urgency, organizations have had to get their best talent working on their most critical tasks, from business survival to growth and innovation. In times of crisis, talent reveals itself, and COVID19 is helping companies recognize those who create disproportional value for the organization. Freeing up critical talent to combat a challenging situation is one such example. Now, the key will be to make sure that this critical talent, these difference makers, don’t, once again, get spread too thinly after the crisis has passed.


Employers and government should work together to bounce back stronger: EY’s Lay Keng

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Employers can work together with the government to roll out initiatives to enable reskilling and upskilling for individuals to bounce back stronger, equipped with data and digital skills required of the workforce of the future, says Tan Lay Keng, EY Asean People Advisory Services Leader; Partner, Ernst & Young Tax Consultants Sdn Bhd, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

nstead of being restricted to office sites and normal working hours, the workplace of the future will be much more digital, much more flexible, and less hierarchical, and the gig workforce will become more prevalent. HR needs to embrace disruption and reimagine the workplace where people are enabled to focus and work safely, leading to an overall improvement in workforce productivity, according to Lay Keng. Tan Lay Keng is currently EY Asean People Advisory Services Leader; Partner at Ernst & Young Tax Consultants Sdn Bhd. Lay Keng has over 30 years of professional services experience, with 10 years in corporate taxation. Her experience covers a wide range of industries including oil and gas, telecommunications, technology, professional services, financial services, manufacturing, trading, and real estate. Lay Keng has held a number of EY leadership roles in Malaysia and nota-

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bly led the EY Mobility business within People Advisory Services for more than 20 years. She is also the EY China Overseas Investment Network (COIN) Leader in Malaysia. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

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Between April-June 2020, the world lost almost 400 million full-time jobs due to the pandemic, according to ILO. Some of these jobs may get lost forever. At the same time, a new category of jobs is emerging. What's your advice to the millions of workers who are now jobless? What can employers now do to create jobs, and what jobs should they be focusing on? The unemployed need to keep themselves constantly updated about the latest sectoral trends and employment opportunities. As employment opportunities shift across sectors, they will also need to identify transferable skills that would enable them to move from sectors with lower employment to those with higher employment opportunities. Employers can work together with the government to roll out initiatives to enable reskilling and upskilling for individuals to bounce back stronger, equipped with data and digital skills required of the workforce of the | SEPTEMBER 2020

future. Such initiatives will not only help to safeguard the employability and future-relevance of the individuals but will also facilitate the individuals’ move towards high valueadding job roles with higher earning potential. The spectrum of relevant data and technology skillsets include data interpretation, data strategy management, data mining and modeling, software development, and technology risk management.

should design customized training programs tailored to the desired skills and redefine recruitment, selection, and job placement strategies. In short, HR needs to embrace disruption and reimagine the workplace where people are enabled to focus and work safely, leading to an overall improvement in workforce productivity. The job landscape five years from now would be one that is increasingly agile, with people at the

In addressing unemployment issues, employers can simplify the organizational structure by de-layering and creating micro roles and they can create more demandbased work targeting the gig workforce. Beyond creating jobs for the present, employers should also start looking at planning for jobs of the future by identifying future skills required In addressing unemployment issues, employers can simplify the organizational structure by de-layering and creating micro roles. In addition, organizations can create more demand-based work targeting the gig workforce. Beyond creating jobs for the present, employers should also start looking at planning for jobs of the future by identifying future skills required, critically evaluating each job role, and developing learning roadmaps in line with identified future skills. Employers

center and with an emphasis on employee experiences. Employers who take the time to understand their employees’ experiences and needs, and help their employees manage challenges will win their trust and build resilience through an engaged, productive, and successful workforce. Employers are encouraged to reinvent work, synchronizing technology, and the shape of work to current and future needs. Instead of being restricted to office sites and normal working


hours, the workplace of the future will be much more digital, much more flexible, and less hierarchical, and the gig workforce will become more prevalent. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a great testament to remote working, which was not conventional to many industries before. The extent to which an organization can offer flexible experiences will determine its ability to attract the best talents in the market.

ers need to implement active listening and continuous feedback infrastructure such as quick pulse surveys to monitor sentiment and spot emerging issues; while virtual suggestion boxes can be set up for people to submit feedback and ideas. In addition, right expectations and behaviors need to be put in place, where priorities and productivity should be redefined. Employees seek to successfully integrate and manage their personal responsibilities with the new virtual demands of work. Last, but not least, leaders should be role models to employees, by focusing on building the human connection through technology and encouraging authentic sharing and conversations. Leaders should work towards building and nurturing a sense of trust and belonging. Employees, on the other SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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processes and approvals and establish clear SOPs. Organizations should also focus on their people. A recent EY survey, WorkFrom-Home Pulse Survey, that examined the sentiments of people WFH shows that as much as remote working saves time and daily expenses, employees reported a poorer work-life balance. Employees may feel isolated, emotionally stressed, and lack a sense of belonging. Therefore, organizations need to engage their employees who are working remotely more frequently and differently. It is essential for employers to develop strong connections and regular communications with employees that focus on relating, empathy, and belonging. Workers would want to feel that they matter, particularly in these testing times. Employ-

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How do you see the overall impact of the new work from home phenomenon? What do organizations need to do to become more resilient under remote working conditions? What do employees need to do to become more productive as they work remotely? Organizations need to carry out workforce planning to identify roles that are suitable for WFH, the number of employees impacted, and assess possible realignment of roles. Further, employers should establish business cases on costs, benefits and workforce productivity as well as assess the impact on KPIs, salaries, allowances, and incentives. Importantly, organizations may wish to also consider learning and development needs (e.g., reskilling, upskilling) and evaluate the necessary changes to business

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hand, should also stay connected with their team leaders and team members by being participative or supportive of integration of life while working remotely, for instance, with video switched on when meeting virtually or having virtual moments to introduce kids, partners and pets. The individuals should know who to reach out to for support and who their allies are. Similarly, individuals should identify ways to help strengthen and support their own team members. Remote team leads may want to reserve time for office hours and “open door” sessions to enable team members to simply call to discuss any topics. Well-being and care for themselves and others are critical when working remotely. Employees should develop a daily routine, such as fixed regular breaks, a fixed start and end time for work according to their most productive hours in line with their personal commitments, and meeting cadence with key project team members. Leaders should also identify and allocate roles within teams to check that the way work is being produced is meeting expectations. To equip themselves with skills required in these unprecedented times, employees should leverage the freed-up time e.g., from | SEPTEMBER 2020

commuting, for self-development. Team leads should demonstrate leadership and role modeling e.g., complete certified online learning themselves, as this positively impacts teams during this time in terms of productivity, care, and motivation.

How do you see the overall role of HR and people managers evolving amid this pandemic and what’s the way forward for people and talent managers to make the most of this situation? HR or people functions are the first line of resilience for the workforce during a crisis. CHROs and their leadership teams need to work in an integrated fashion with operations, finance, IT, legal, and investor relations.

As this pandemic evolved, the overall roles of HR and people managers has also transitioned from enabling business continuity and leading crisis management, to managing ongoing business disruption and transforming the overall talent or workforce landscape to succeed. Even as they drive the transformation agenda, CHROs too will need to take on new roles as the “Chief Experience Officer”, with an emphasis on delivering employee experiences in the new ways of working. Specifically, people and talent managers should implement new people function(s), upgrade the capabilities of their teams, and move people and work as needed to enhance service experiences and value.


The people function should seize the opportunity to stand out as an agile function that is exceptional at listening, anticipating, improving, and deploying service enhancements at speed. HR should also drive innovation to underscore HR as a critical enabler of the value of people and business outcomes. For example, people managers should find ways to enhance team performance.

down during and after the crisis unless companies consciously focus on advancing diversity and fostering inclusion. Gender diversity and inclusion should always be a priority whether in times of pandemic or not. A study by Randstad, Prioritizing gender diversity in the era of COVID-19, shows that a diverse workplace drives greater customer and employee loyalty, increases

How do you see the gender diversity landscape amid this crisis? There are growing concerns that progress on D&I could slow

worker engagement, and has a higher capacity for innovation. In addition, women are known to be equipped with traits and skills such as creativity, sensitivity, people-focused, and adaptive to change, that are critical in challenging times. Thus, having women with these skill sets, in both senior leadership, and across the talent pipeline, are critical to an organization’s wellbeing and survival. However, COVID-19 has impacted women in various spheres of their lives,

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In today’s new normal, HR and people managers will need to take on the roles of strategic advisors to the C-suite to deliver workforce impact; stewards and keepers of employee culture, safety, wellness and engagement; and drivers of people actions required to maintain overall organizational and financial health.

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The job landscape five years from now would be one that is increasingly agile, with people at the center and with an emphasis on employee experiences. Employers who take the time to understand their employees’ experiences and needs, and help their employees manage challenges will win their trust and build resilience through an engaged, productive, and successful workforce

whether at work or home. Women, especially those who undertake part-time work, may not have a safety net in case of reduced hours or job loss. Consequently, women may be more economically affected by the pandemic than men. Women generally also experience more challenges at home as they play the role of primary caregivers to children and elderly relatives. With the closure of daycare centers and schools, women need to take on additional duties to their children such as homeschooling. An EY study, Work redefined – Navigating COVID19 survey insights, reported that 56 percent of women are either working more hours or on the weekends while working from home compared to 35 percent of the male respondents. This challenge will only continue (if not exacerbate) as women plan to return to the workplace while continuing to maintain family commitments during this time of the pandemic. To build a gender-inclusive workplace, leaders at all levels of organizations and society must hold themselves accountable for achieving gender equality. It is not enough to proclaim support or make a pledge or a promise. It is time to act.

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It will take a while for some sectors to improve hiring to pre-pandemic levels: Robert Walters’ Dominic Salomoni

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E-commerce, healthcare and education/ed-tech will emerge as the sectors that will benefit the most in the medium to longterm and we expect to see increased levels of hiring across these sectors over the next few years, says Dominic Salomoni, Director, Commerce of Robert Walters Singapore, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed

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ominic Salomoni is the Director, Commerce at Robert Walters Singapore. Dominic joined recruitment as he feels that the industry offers a genuine career path and

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global mobility at all stages of one’s career. He has 17 years of work experience and has worked for wellknown global recruitment businesses both in the UK, Australia, and Singapore. Prior to joining Robert Walters Singapore in 2012, Dominic was the Associate Director for the finance division of a global recruitment business based in London. In Sydney, his base for five years prior to London, he focused on senior finance roles within the FMCG, IT&T, media, and pharmaceutical & healthcare sectors. Dominic currently heads the commerce division and manages several disciplines: Accounting & Finance, HR & Business Support, Sales & Marketing, Technical Healthcare, Supply-Chain & Procurement, Professional Practice and Upstream Oil & Gas (perm & temp). He has also personally focused on recruiting mid-market to C-Suite accounting roles across a variety of sectors, including Education, IT&T,


Professional Services, Property, Media, FMCG, Retail, Pharma/Healthcare Here are the excerpts of the interview.

upskilling has never been more important. The way things are done before and after COVID-19 has changed dramatically. Enterprises will need to rethink their processes, people, and systems to find ways of being more effective, efficient, and most importantly, agile. For individuals, regardless of whether their jobs have been affected so far, they will constantly learn and upskill themselves to remain relevant in a world which is changing faster than before.

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In the post-pandemic days, there may be jobs that get lost forever, and then there may be jobs that can become more important than ever. In fact, a new category of jobs may emerge altogether in the postpandemic days. How do you

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The COVID-19 outbreak is different from any previous crisis and hence the way leaders respond to this crisis should be different. How do you see the current business landscape and their readiness to come through stronger on the other side? From what we can observe, the current business landscape in Singapore is generally driven by caution amongst many employers. Most businesses are trying to navigate their way through the current landscape via a combination of sensible cost management, digitalization, and taking advantage of any available government relief such as the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) which has been extremely helpful in these unprecedented times to allow employers to maintain their people. Businesses that were more agile and innovative in adapting to the current business landscape have performed better, and will likely emerge through this leaner, more competitive and ready to take advantage of the uptick in the market once it takes place.

to the pandemic, according to ILO. What's the need of the hour to come out of this never-before situation which has a disturbing effect on workers and millions of enterprises worldwide? The initial economic response required was for governments to provide unprecedented levels of support for their economies. The Singapore response from an economic perspective has been outstanding and the JSS has ensured that many Singaporeans have retained their jobs as a result. Moving forward, the length of time for which the pandemic lasts will determine how much more economic stimulus will be required to ensure people remain employed moving forward. For businesses and individuals, innovation and

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see this shifting equation? How do you see the job landscape five years down the line? In the short-term, some sectors such as aviation, retail, hospitality, and events are obviously seeing more of an impact in terms of hiring. Once the pandemic is over, we expect to see these industries recover. However, it will take a while for hiring to improve to the levels they

Do you think the new work from home phenomenon can transform the job market? How do you see the overall impact of this new form of WFH? There will definitely be a shift towards work from home on varying levels across most businesses where possible. During this period, many employees

Most businesses are trying to navigate their way through the current landscape via a combination of cost management, digitalization and available government relief schemes such as the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) which has been extremely helpful in these unprecedented times to allow employers to maintain their people were at pre-pandemic. From what we have observed, e-commerce, healthcare, and education/ ed-tech will emerge as the sectors that will benefit the most in the medium to longterm and we expect to see increased levels of hiring across these sectors over the next few years. Digitalization, which was already being undertaken for many businesses across various sectors, accelerated during the pandemic. This increased speed of Digitalization will continue to drive increased demands across both technology and market-

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ing-related functions within many companies.

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have become more used to the concept of working from home and enjoyed the flexibility and time with family it affords them. According to a survey we conducted in April to May this year, 84 percent of employees we surveyed said that they would like to work from home at least twice a month and more than 50 percent hoped to work from home at least once a week. The survey also revealed that most employers and employees felt that productivity levels were maintained or increased when employees are working from home.

Additionally, most businesses will benefit from significant cost savings generated by reduced office space requirements should employees not be required to come in every day. As such, there is a potential winwin for both employers and employees in continuing with some form of flexible working arrangements and hybrid work environments in the post-pandemic era. Given this, we expect that it’s unlikely that most officebased businesses will return to a traditional office environment where employees are expected to come in every day of the week from 9 to 5.

Do you think organizations need to invest in effective long-term remote-working foundations and revamp their upskilling approaches by embracing an agile approach to strategic workforce planning? To cope with the sudden transition to work-fromhome arrangements during COVID-19, many businesses have already put in place remote-working technologies. Depending on their long-term approach to flexible working, businesses may also need to create a permanent work-from-home platform for their employees. This will require further investment in technology and increased levels of trust and autonomy in many cases.


For businesses and individuals, innovation and upskilling has never been more important. Enterprises will need to rethink their processes, people, and systems to find ways of being more effective, efficient, and most importantly, agile the government training programs put in place. It is also important to identify and tap on all the resources available. Reach out to your friends and family, attend virtual networking activities, look out for relevant jobs on LinkedIn and make sure your applications to jobs are tailored. This willingness to learn and adapt coupled with your resourcefulness will go a long way when applying for new jobs as well. Employers will view these as evidence of resilience and grit. It’s a particularly trying time for many people both professionally and personally but try to remember that things will get better over time and we will all emerge stronger, wiser and closer together as a community once the pandemic is over. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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What's your advice to the millions of workers who are now jobless? How can we help ease off the greater burden of the out-of-thework community? For many of those who are jobless, they should be taking this time to focus on upskilling and/or re-skilling themselves. Although it may be hard to do so, keeping a positive mindset and trying to see it as an opportunity to grow or diversify your skill set is crucial. I would advise individuals to consider picking up skills related to the growing markets across healthcare, education, technology and digitalization if possible. Taking advantage of any government-related training or grants where available would be the best way to do this. In Singapore, these could be SkillsFuture credits, or any of

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Prospective employees will certainly be factoring in flexible working arrangements into their considerations when on the lookout for a new role, particularly if they are currently enjoying such benefits. Flexible working arrangements were already a key driver for many employees prepandemic and this only increased post-pandemic. Employers will be at a competitive disadvantage if they don’t offer this moving forward. On the HR end, companies will need to make changes to their onboarding, training, strategic workforce planning programs. Other areas that will require change include talent retention strategies, employer culture building and talent development programs.

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COVID-19, the final wakeup call for all!

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We have been complaining how technology could lead to less demand for workers for years. COVID-19 has merely been the force that caused most of us to take those concerns seriously By Clinton Wingrove

he First Industrial Revolution saw massive changes to manufacturing processes from the mid 18th to the mid 19th century in the UK and the USA in particular. Initial responses from the population to these massive changes were negative. Yet, those changes led to rapid population growth, dramatic improvements in the wider economy, and paid employment for many who would have otherwise lived in extreme poverty. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution is now viewed by historians as the most important, positive and significant event since humans moved from hunting to agriculture. Despite its massive impact, few had predicted the Industrial Revolution and many of those who did were naysayers, highlighting its potentially catastrophic impact. Only a small minority foresaw its potential benefits, planned

accordingly, and so benefited directly from it. Sounds familiar? The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the vulnerability of millions of employees and businesses across the globe. Between April-June 2020, the world lost almost 400 million full-time jobs due to the pandemic, according to statistics released by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Despite decades, during which the potential of a pandemic was highlighted, virtually nobody planned for one. Despite decades of talk about essential changes to the way businesses operate, virtually none built up cash reserves for continuity during any disruption. But note, “The COVID19 pandemic has brought to the fore‌â€? Yes, the vulnerabilities were already there. We have been bemoaning the shift away from physical shopping to online shopping for a decade; we have been complaining how tech-

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the vulnerability of millions of employees and businesses across the globe 82

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This is the new normal – periods of continuous change, interspersed with major disruptions. Repeatedly, we will see skills become outdated, roles cease to exist, and markets disappear

STORY

Second, new technologies and new markets will appear. They will lead to new jobs, jobs that we have not seen before. Organizations must prepare for that. Smart organizations will not only prepare for it, they will seize on the power of contemporary technology, drive those changes, and create those new jobs. Organizations that will survive and thrive will: • Identify their most creative and innovative staff at the earliest opportunity. They will then resource, enable, and nurture them to refine their skills and to excel at bringing visionary and disruptive new products, services, processes, and jobs to their organi-

zations. They will protect them from the challenges and distractions of peoplemanagement, recognizing them in other ways for their unique contributions; • Require all staff to continuously develop, grow, and adapt - and they will continuously challenge, recognize, and reward them for doing so; • Hold managers and leaders accountable for risk and opportunity management – looking ahead and conducting scenario planning as a matter of course; • Apply sound financial management at all levels, ensuring that they are able to survive the harshest of thunderstorms, not merely get through the occasional short cashreducing shower.

C OVER

nology could lead to less demand for workers for years. COVID-19 has merely been the force that caused most of us to take those concerns seriously! Organizations that invested in quality leadership and management were already prepared. They had done their scenario planning. They had prepared for a major crisis (any crisis, not merely a pandemic). Why? Because they knew that they happen! Despite the evidence (stock market crash; annual flu; mad cow disease; foot & mouth disease; tsunamis; global recession; 9/11; COVID-19), many organizations still believe that (a) things will remain relatively stable, (b) continued economic growth is both achievable and sustainable, and (c) promoting individuals into strategic peoplemanagement roles because they excel at something else makes sense. We all need to wake up – the earth was not flat, is not flat, and will not become flat. COVID-19 must be the final wakeup call. We must face up to two facts. First, the world is not going “to go back to normal”. This is the new normal – periods of continuous change, interspersed with major disruptions. Repeatedly, we will see skills become outdated, roles cease to exist, and markets disappear.

As I have said before, COVID-19 has been a wakeup call for the world, countries, organizations, and individuals. We now understand that crises happen, and they will keep happening in the future. They each trigger previously unimaginable uses of technology and processes in all walks of life. We need to get on-board and ride the wave, and stop any Canutelike pondering else the tide will sweep us away. Clinton Wingrove is the Director of www.WantToBeGreatManager.com and www.ClintonHR.com SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Vidisha Mehta

Rethinking work design for a sustainable reset to the world of work In the medium term, work design needs to reflect the new ways of working that have evolved in response to the pandemic

The New Workplace

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s organizations across Asia Pacific continue their journey to restore stability in the new normal, they face multiple challenges that impact work redesign strategies. Organizations have now experienced the future of work in action, with many having to accelerate their digital journey. In this period of rapid technological and social change, the world of work has been radically transformed. By April this year, over one-third (37%) of organizations globally had already taken steps to redeploy (and potentially reskill) workers to support another function, and nearly a quarter (22%) had automated or started to automate certain aspects of work to streamline and/or increase productivity. In the medium term, work design needs to reflect the new ways of working that have evolved

This crisis has been a defining moment for leadership. It’s more important than ever to stay true to the purpose, values and culture of your organization, and lead with integrity and empathy 84

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in response to the pandemic. This is critical to ensure that the new normal is both effective and sustainable for organizations, while being purpose-driven and meaningful for employees.

Sustainable work redesign and workforce optimization

As organizations consider changes to work design and workforce optimization, it is important to keep four key elements in mind.

Rewards and reskilling programs

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for innovative solutions to enable a rebalancing of talent between industries suffering declining demand and

Rewards and reskilling policy and programs

Leadership midset and culture

Enabling technology

Work processes


Technology enablement

Technology has proven to be a game changer amid the crisis. It has enabled various businesses to stay open and introduced new ways to get work done. For instance, some organizations have increased their use of online chat bots and leveraged centralized data centres for automated data collection tasks. A major regional bank moved all its financial advisory services from face-to-face meetings at branches to tele-advisory services being provided using a virtual commu-

Technology has proven to be a game changer amid the crisis. It has enabled various businesses to stay open and introduced new ways to get work done nication platform. This platform allowed the advisor to provide consultation over a video-call, as well as product information through a file share feature of the tool. As organizations consider the likely extension or formalisation of remote working arrangements, they need to consider how technology can help support this strategy in a sustainable manner. To efficiently integrate technology into work and ensure it enables a dispersed workforce, organizations should consider: • How effective are our existing technologies at supporting flexible arrangements and keeping our remote workforce connected? • Do we have a technology roadmap to enable business stratSEPTEMBER 2020 |

The New Workplace

those experiencing a spike in demand. While some organizations have addressed this demand by tapping into the gig economy or outsourcing work to freelance workers in other geographies, many organizations have emphasized the need to upskill and reskill their existing talent pool. They also need to think of how to reward talent based on the new skills acquired. Organizations can consider the following when designing rewards and reskilling programs to support new ways of working: • Is there a comprehensive policy or a set of guiding principles for how work is done? • How is work changing and how does that change skills requirements? • What are the implications of work redesign on our rewards programs? • Will a skill-based approach to pay and rewards work for our organization? • Do we have programs available for continuous learning?

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The New Workplace

Organizations need to assess the complexity of business processes and layers of management that currently exist. A critical element to redesigning work is to analyze how managers are adding value and reviewing work processes egy and operations in the “new normal”? • What are the impacts of these changes on the workforce? • How do we measure returns on our investment in technology?

Leadership mindset

This crisis has been a defining moment for leadership. It’s more important than ever to stay true to the purpose, values and culture of your organization, and lead with integrity and empathy. Redesigning work can truly be successful when leaders display an agile and continuous learning mindset. This enables them to understand the shifting needs and concerns of their stakeholders; and to inte86

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grate these perspectives in the decision-making process. Clear and timely communications is likewise crucial to keep employees informed of decisions and planned changes; as well as to alleviate anxiety that employees feel in an uncertain economic environment. As leaders steer the organization to new ways of doing work, they should consider: • Have we engaged all relevant stakeholders in decisionmaking and considered all perspectives? • Are we prioritizing the intersection of employee and company well-being? • Are we supportive and capable of managing a diverse/ dispersed workforce? • Can we successfully integrate flexibility as part of our organizational culture? • Are we supportive and capable of integrating technology?

Work processes

Organizations need to assess the complexity of business processes and layers of management that currently exist. A critical element to redesigning work is to analyze how managers are adding value and reviewing work processes. As communication flows become more open with the use of virtual platforms, the pandemic presents an opportunity for organizations to find more efficient ways to get work done. Here are some considerations as organizations rethink their existing processes and hierarchies: • Do our existing work processes and workflows allow for flexibil-


ity and agile working? • Which processes lend itself to flexible work schedules? • How are managers adding value to work processes? • What activities in a work process or workflow could be automated? We use the reinventing jobs framework as it provides organization a centrepiece to enable rethinking of work strategy.

Current capabilities & business model

Deconstruct jobs

Reevaluate

Reinventing jobs Reskill talent

To start, companies can deconstruct a job into its constituent activities and classify the tasks so all of the type of work in the job is broken down. Next, they can assess the best way to automate tasks and redeploy them by alternate means (technology and/ or human-automation solutions). This is critical as jobs are rarely automated as a whole. Specific tasks, however, may be far more suited to automation. Third, look at the activities collectively and reconstruct into (new) jobs where it makes sense, taking into account the new means of accomplishing the work, and what the new work distribution between talent and technology requires. Finally, iden-

Optimize work & reconstruct jobs

The New Workplace

Business strategy

The pandemic has caused widespread macroeconomic, social and business disruptions, but has also provided a unique opportunity to reinvent how work is designed and rewarded to improve performance, optimize costs and reduce risk in the future

Business outcomes & cultural transformation

tify skills needed for the future version of the work and reskilling pathways for talent whose work is being transformed by automation. This ensures that the workforce is building the future skills that the business requires. The pandemic has caused widespread macroeconomic, social and business disruptions, but has also provided a unique opportunity to reinvent how work is designed and rewarded to improve performance, optimize costs and reduce risk in the future. Organizations must leverage this opportunity to evaluate jobs at a task level, model alternatives to carry out tasks and reinvent jobs for targeted business outcomes. The future of work is here!

Vidisha Mehta is the Managing Director and Talent & Rewards Leader, Singapore, Willis Towers Watson

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Adaptability and empathy are key to sail through uncertain times: DIAL’s CEO In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Videh Jaipuriar, Chief Executive Officer at Delhi International Airport (DIAL) shares insights on how the aviation industry is coping with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, how DIAL is undertaking technological interventions as well as creation of alternative infrastructure to create a safer travel environment in these times, and the critical role that leaders are playing in this transition By Yasmin Taj

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hile the global disruption caused by the COVID19 pandemic has impacted almost every industry and business, one of the hardest hit industries, with the restrictions on travel worldwide, has been the aviation sector. The actions that government, indus-

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try leaders, and individual aviation companies take during this period will influence how deep the crisis reaches, how long the effects last, how quickly the industry recovers, and to what extent the industry will be transformed. While there are multiple factors that will play a key role in this comeback for the aviation


Plast Ltd. and Britannia Industries Ltd. He has obtained a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Master’s degree in Marketing from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

How is the aviation industry adapting to the rapidly changing business conditions? The COVID-19 outbreak has certainly been an unprecedented challenge to the aviation sector - rapidly evolving and presenting newer and more complex issues to deal with (viz. partial and complete lockdowns). Having said that, the industry has responded through active coordination amongst involved entities to remain operationally ready at short notice. We, at Delhi Airport, have been working with authorities and partners to actively focus on enhancing passenger screen-

I N TERVIEW

industry, the role of technology and leadership would be paramount. In this exclusive interaction, Videh Jaipuriar, Chief Executive Officer at Delhi International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (DIAL) shares his views on how the aviation industry is adapting to the rapidly changing business conditions, how organizations can double down on tech to thrive in the new normal, the technologies and digital innovations DIAL is employing to adapt to the new normal, and what are the essential traits people are seeking in their leaders in such times. Jaipuriar has been the Chief Executive Officer of DIAL since December 2017. He has over 30 years of experience in diverse sectors such as infrastructure, chemicals and FMCG across products and services in B2B and B2C segments. Prior to joining DIAL, he served as Managing Director of Jubilant Industries Ltd. He has worked with various other companies including Bunge India, Blow

Technology is increasingly being seen as an enabler and a savior in these turbulent times, by successfully aiding people to engage within the boundaries of physical distancing SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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by successfully aiding people to engage within the boundaries of physical distancing. During and after the recovery, new technologies and smart solutions will play a key role for teams to collaborate and align more effectively. Apart from video conferencing technologies that are already becoming business imperatives, the new normal will help companies adopt the digital paradigm much faster. Whether it is paperless documentation, data collection & analysis or management of various organizational processes, technology will become an essential part of our way of working. ing, emergency response, stakeholder outreach and coordination with relevant authorities to ensure business continuity. We have also undertaken additional measures related to hygiene, introduction of work-from-home policies and self-health declarations for all our employees. Delhi Airport has been at the forefront of undertaking technological interventions as well as creation of alternative infrastructure to create a safer travel environment in these times. Air travel is essential to global trade, and that’s why we must find ways to continue air travel in the safest possible way.

As the world of work slowly adapts to the new normal, what kind of role do you think technology is going to play in the postCOVID-19 times? Technology is increasingly being seen as an enabler and a savior in these turbulent times, 90

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How can organizations double down on tech to thrive in the new normal? What investments are the most necessary to create the technology environment that will allow your company to thrive in the next normal? All organizations must look to prioritize meaningful digital transformation. By meaningful, we mean adoption of technologies that are suited to your industry and target customers. While digital innovation is important, boosting business resilience should also be part of such a business transformation. Organizations must start with digitizing critical to business activities in the near horizon. For us, building long-term resilience to optimize service delivery is extremely important. We continue to implement industry leading technologies to enhance passenger experience while reducing threats and vulnerabilities to the business. We see contactless travel along-


side physical distancing and CRM solutions to be an attractive suite of offerings for an engaging and safe environment for both our passengers and employees at Delhi Airport.

What all technologies and digital innovations are you employing to adapt to the new normal? There has been a whole array of technology and digital innovations ranging from baggage sanitization, trolley disinfection, thermal screening of passengers to self-check in, etc. We are now encouraging contactless travel to the maximum extent possible.

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How do you see the future of remote work and how will technologies evolve to make flexible work easier for employees and employers? What are your biggest challenges with respect to dealing with this new style of working? For an organization like us, work-from-home or remote working has certainly been an unexpected turnaround. We have, however, ensured that all employees have the necessary tools and equipment to perform daily tasks. To accommodate a remote workforce, I believe most organizations are re-evaluating processes and performance metrics while prescribing better communication and increased collaboration across the board. Just like in any

transformation, leadership plays a crucial role in setting clear expectations. The biggest challenge with such working is ensuring business continuity. Organizations need to implement necessary changes into its processes and culture. Additionally, companies that are “new� to remote working, must provide additional support to all their employees. Employees should clearly know what tools to use, how to use them as well as how to get help when needed.

We see contactless travel alongside physical distancing and CRM solutions to be an attractive suite of offerings for an engaging and safe environment for both our passengers and employees at Delhi Airport SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Self-service processes requiring minimum human intervention have already been implemented. Our retail and F&B offerings are also getting contactless with introduction of digital payments and digital menus along with selfordering kiosks as part of this business transformation. Next time you are at Delhi Airport, right from the time you arrive to the time you fly out of Delhi Airport and vice-versa, a bouquet

We see adaptability, empathy and fact-based communication as the top traits every leader must possess, irrespective of the situation. Adaptability is important to ensure business continuity while empathy can help all organizations steer through fragile times of contactless processing can be witnessed whilst appreciating a smooth travel experience. How are you collaborating with all your business leaders including the CHROs/CIOs/CTOs to make sure you have the right digital infrastructure post COVID19? At the very outset of the national lockdown, we started the concept of a ‘COVID-19 warroom’. This war room daily brings together all key personnel across the organization onto a single platform wherein we discuss and address critical business issues for ensuring business continuity and deploying mechanisms to

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limit the spread of virus within the airport ecosystem. Employee and customer health & safety is the top priority for which social distancing and remote working is an essential. This brings into prominence the role of the Technology and IT leads within the organization with whom we work to ideate-develop-implement technologies that will make processes safer. My task is to address challenges of our People & Technology managers as they set out to achieve extremely fast-paced implementations in this time of crisis.

The government has issued many guidelines for companies for returning to the workfrom-office model? Please share some initiatives your organization is planning to take up as you open up in phases? We have been keeping track of all important guidelines and advisories issued by competent authorities for implementation and to remain prepared for any upcoming situation. At DIAL, we are committed to the safety of our entire workforce, so while we follow the complete government guidelines, we go a few steps further in tailoring our preparedness to the specific context of DIAL and its people. Some of the initiatives undertaken include: • Minimal office attendance to manage essential airport operations • Thermal screening of office staff & mandatory self-health declaration • Medical readiness for identi-


fying & helping suspect cases • 24*7 Employee Emergency Management Cell which is staff helpline to help both staff and their families in case of medical and personal emergencies • Enhanced sanitization of office spaces • Periodic awareness sessions on personal hygiene • Training of people managing key safety and hygiene processes

As per the report, the top challenges to manage disruption

well is the ‘resistance to change’ and ‘lack of vision & buy-in’ from leaders. What are some of the changes you are seeing pan out in the aviation sector? I agree that both these traits can be impediments to handling disruption. In aviation, ever evolving customer expectations have led to greater adoption of technology and a wide spectrum of services provided. We have been cognizant to revamp passenger experience at Delhi Airport through the introduction of leading technologies whilst carefully listening to traveler needs and wants. It is essential for our leadership teams to continue to have a clear vision and firm commitment towards gaining immunity from turbulent times while retaining our position of the Best Airport for decades to come. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

I N TERVIEW

Odgers Berndtson recently released a Leadership Confidence Index report in association with Harvard Business Review Analytic services. As per the report, the mindset & traits required for strong leadership are quickly shifting. What are the essential traits you see people seeking in their leaders in such times? We see adaptability, empathy and fact-based communication as the top traits every leader must possess, irrespective of the situation. Adaptability is important to ensure business continuity while empathy can help all organizations steer through fragile times. Along with these two traits, consistent, reliable and fact-based communication helps bring the organization together and reduce workplace anxiety. If you have the right set of people demonstrating these traits at all times, your workforce will align itself to effectively answer any challenge that the organization faces.

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are you in the list?


Who all made it to the list?: Are You In The List 2020 Winners By Shweta Modgil

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - John Quincy Adams s 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. Organizations will have to equip themselves to deal with the rapid rate of change and all sorts of crises. And one major factor which will determine who will come on top of all the shifts is leadership. 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.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown us one thingthe importance of leaders who can lead through a crisis with a balanced head and balance the talent experience with that of business continuity has never been so much as it is right now. People Matters Are You In The List Awards in association with DDI India aims to identify these very emerging HR leaders who can become the answer to the challenges in the people and workspace. The Awards, which is in its ninth year of running, has been the beacon helping to identify young emerging HR leaders to build the future pipeline of HR leaders. On 28th August 2020, the HR fraternity in India got its next set of emerging HR leaders as the winners of

People Matters Are You In The List awards 2020 were revealed. The most awaited award ceremony dedicated to recognize HR Leaders was conceptualized in 2012 by People Matters in collaboration with Development Dimensions International (DDI). This year we also partnered with Harappa Education for this one of a kind award series. In eight years, more than 17,500 applications have been made, out of which more than 137+ emerging HR leaders have been recognized till now. Now joining the battalion of emerging HR leaders are the 10 winners of Are You In The List 2020. Here’s a sneak peek of all our Winners from this year: SEPTEMBER 2020 |

are you in the list?

In its 9th Edition, People Matters Are You In The List gets 10 winners from a long list of 21 finalists and 1,715 applications. Here's a glimpse of the winners

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Yamini Koganti

Assistant Vice President - HR | Swiggy

are you in the list?

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amini believes in HR being a core part of business to help organizations drive results. She is passionate about solving business opportunities and empathetic to the business team’s capability needs and business dynamics. She constantly seeks to take things together with a growth mindset leading to sustainable long term growth. Her vision for HR future growth is to integrate HR Technology and data intelligence, leveraging machine learning techniques, etc. to automate work and at the same time create a great employee experience at the workplace.

Yamini is passionate about solving business opportunities and empathetic to the business team’s capability needs and business dynamics

Noopur Bhandari

HR Business Partner | Signify Innovations India Limited (erstwhile Philips Lighting)

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Noopur's vision of HR is to evolve into a field that combines its human-centric approach with technology, data analytics, and business acumen as its core pillars 96

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oopur realizes the importance of building a strong, enabling ecosystem to drive excellence and unleash potential. Her aspiration to build such thriving ecosystems made her choose HR since it allowed her to create similar enriching experiences for people from all the parts of an organization directly, while also being able to develop foundational systems where other managers can contribute in driving growth for their own teams. Her vision of HR is to evolve into a field that combines its human-centric approach with technology, data analytics, and business acumen as its core pillars.


Swati Panigrahi

Manager - Learning and Development | Titan Company Limited

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be able to use data to drive key people decisions, hold the business accountable and prepare the workforce for the future.

Malvika Assija

Manager - HR | Nestle India Ltd.

Malvika believes that the future of HR will see a lot of data science, technology and human values converging together in a never seen before manner

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alvika Assija from Nestle India believes that the future of HR will see a lot of data science, technology and human values converging together in a never seen before manner. HR needs to be able to imagine new experiments in organizational and employee psychology to be able to foresee the talent issues of tomorrow before the businesses come to HR with them years later. She believes that HR’s future must lead break-throughs in having policies and systems to manage and engage talent in a virtual set up with the same empathy and human touch as had been prevalent in a pre-COVID world. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

are you in the list?

wati who describes herself as an HR professional is eager to learn and determined to create an impact. She believes in taking people along, and is optimistic in her approach. She likes working with a diverse set of people as it brings different perspectives in decision making. While HR teams continue their role to be solution providers for the workforce issues, it is imperative that they take up a more proactive role in anticipating needs of the business and the workforce, in effect becoming change agents. Swati believes as change agents, HR should

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Harleen Sodhi

are you in the list?

Practice Lead - HR | Infosys Ltd.

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Harleen believes that technology is disrupting our world & HR is no exception to that

arleen Sodhi from Infosys believes that there is a lot one can gain through conversations with people outside of one’s immediate HR circles & for that reason she often finds herself at the intersection of discussions between business or other business enablers & HR at the workplace. She believes that technology is disrupting our world & HR is no exception to that. The advent of mobile application based HR systems, on-demand services & platforms, talent analytics, gig economy, subcontracting, learning technology, etc. will call for significant upskilling on the part of HR managers to keep their relevance intact. As technology frees HR’s bandwidth of erstwhile operational tasks, business immersion will be key.

Shivani Nehru

HR Representative, People and Communities | Cisco

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hivani’s interest in HR started with her stint at a non-profit organization - Make a Difference (MAD). As a fellow, she closely witnessed the ambiguity and complexity of dealing with human behavior and emotions while helping in setting up the team during the initial years and later, its expansion. The technological shift coupled with a growing need to redefine the way we work while operating in blended workspaces has thrown some curveballs at organizations. Her vision for HR growth is where HR will play an integral role to redefine employment models, policies and create a workplace where individuals can | SEPTEMBER 2020

work in a trust based, dynamic, agile, boundary-less way while ensuring minimal disruptions thereby enabling businesses achieve their goals, short and long term.


Monalisha

Human Resources Business Partner | Flipkart

Sakshi Gupta

HR Director | Grail Insights Private Limited

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akshi Gupta from Grail Insights Private Limited strives to quantify the functional value of roles, thereby creating a greater sense of relevance, role clarity, employee satisfaction, lower attrition and self-pruning of organization redundancy. Owing to her quantitative bent of mind and methodical approach, she brings an element of science in HR. Sakshi loves to quantify HR elements without compromising on their essence. The pandemic has forced companies to adapt to virtual platforms and embrace new workforce dynamics, with contingency workforce accounting to 40 percent of the talent market. These changes in the talent land-

are you in the list?

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s an HR professional, Monalisha has built organizations from scratch. She has transformed organizations to more

effective ones through partnering with executive level leaders in building strategies, generating businesses and consistently better processes. Monalisha wants to create a Talent Marketplace, where you get the right skilled and competent person for the right job. Her purpose is to create flexibility for both the organizations and the talent with neither party being completely bonded for a longer duration. She is excited to see HR scaling up the strategic ladder. She feels that there should be a need to create an ecosystem to inspire the entry of the brightest of minds into HR and sustain a talent engine for HR.

scape will require HR to be agile in adopting technology. She believes that technology will play an instrumental role in how we maintain productivity and boost learning among remote and gig workers. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Rajat Sethi

Group Manager - Rewards, Performance and Organization Design | Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited

are you in the list?

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aving always had an intrinsic need to help people in both his personal and professional life, Rajat Sethi sees his adaptability to new environments, his ability to connect with people and develop friendships as his biggest strength. He believes that HR needs to fight for the employee while also enforcing rules when needed. The confidence of the system in HR has to be extremely strong and all stakeholders. He believes that the role of HR will continue to keep changing as new trends shape the new world of work. And that it’s the duty of

HR professionals to keep up with the latest skills and technologies to help support their mandate.

Steffina Lincy

Deputy General Manager - HR | Reliance Industries

With the volume of HR technology adoption expected across all key people processes, every HR person must become tech savvy 100

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teffina from Reliance Industries believes that HR needs to take the driver’s seat when it comes to building responsive organizations - by focusing less on rigid outdated roles and reporting lines, instead, they need to focus on shared outcome structures. With the volume of HR technology adoption expected across all key people processes, every HR person must become tech savvy. She believes that now more than ever, HR’s role as an employee advocate. These are trying times for everyone and employees should be able to look to their HR as credible advisors who can effectively listen to their issues with empathy and address them effectively. As an employee advocate, HR should continue to focus on enhancing employee experience, identifying gaps in the culture and people processes.


Put people first and reach higher: HR Head, Cargill India The COVID-19 pandemic has shown clearly that organizations must put employee well-being as a central priority. Raj Karunakaran, HR Head, Cargill India explains why, and how Cargill is doing this By Abid Hasan

You joined Cargill two and a half years ago. Before that, you have worked in organizations from different sectors. What were some of the early challenges at Cargill and what learning from your past experiences helped you in your current job? Before joining Cargill, I worked with various large corporations in Telecommunications, Pharmaceuticals, Financial investments,

Healthcare, etc. For me working for a company that has a strong purpose is very important. At Cargill, everything begins with our purpose to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way. When I joined Cargill, I discovered that its diverse businesses and products span a wide range of industries, geographies and disciplines. Cargill provides a much bigger canvas to operate and I had to constantly remind myself of the large scope of my role. I feel empowered to be my best and everyone encouraged me to bring in all my experiences and

Employe e We ll-Be ing

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aj Karunakaran, HR Head, Cargill India feels that during this crisis, the everyday performance management helped Cargill in responding to business challenges with far more agility. In an interaction with People Matters, he shares the key focus areas for the company, the need for a chief wellness officer during the crisis, and how he is preparing the business and workforce post-COVID. Here are the edited excerpts.

In the next six months, we will deliver additional employee and leader resources, mental health awareness training, and leadership-led campaign to de-stigmatize mental health and demonstrate care and concern SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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HR teams should stay abreast of business issues and understand industry trends and best practices in the marketplace perspectives and create a meaningful, global impact.

One of the studies suggests that globally 43% of people are redesigning jobs as a way to prepare for the future of work. As people leaders continue to wrap their heads around this crisis. How can employers ensure their workers embrace new technology and upskill themselves? We put people first and reach higher. These values guide every decision we make. It helps us to balance both our business and people needs. The pandemic has reshaped the way we think about our physical work environment for our employees – in our offices and plants, as well as how we connect with our customers. As a result, we’ve turned our attention to how we innovate our ‘new | SEPTEMBER 2020

normal’ embracing new technologies and upskilling our employees to work in a new work protocol. This includes investments around virtual leadership, collaboration tools, digital ways of doing business, long-term goals for employee experiences, as well as the physical needs of the organization like work innovations, technology investments, etc. COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of fully digitized approaches to re-create the best of in-person learning through live video and social sharing. This transformation permits greater personalization for learners—and in turn greater effectiveness.

You have launched the Cargill Cares Employee Disaster Relief Fund for the health and wellbeing of the employees. What was the thought behind coming up with such an announcement? Do you think it’s high time employers need to prioritize the well-being of employees? Do corporates need a ‘Chief Wellness Officer’? Mitigating financial distress for those impacted by COVID19 is a key pillar of our Putting People First commitment. To support employees during times of personal or natural disaster, including the COVID-19 crisis, Cargill recently launched the Cargill Cares Employee Disaster Relief Fund and contributed $15 million as an initial start to the fund. Employees can apply or contribute to the employee disaster relief fund through a new online portal. The fund will be


additional employee and leader resources, mental health awareness training, and leadership-led campaign to de-stigmatize mental health and demonstrate care and concern.

What kind of impact you have seen on the business and workforce due to this pandemic and how are you preparing your business and workforce post-COVID? During this unprecedented time, Cargill is working around the clock with farmers and our customers to continue feeding the world safely, responsibly and sustainably. As our work comes under the ‘essential services category’, the responsibilities of

I strongly feel that this is a time to show more empathy, be role models, and be declarative on employee well-being and worklife balance

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Employe e We ll-Be ing

managed by a non-profit organization, E4E Relief, which specializes in administering funds like ours. We hope through this fund, we can come together in a powerful way to help our colleagues by providing some peace of mind during this incredibly uncertain time. We’ve taken all necessary precautions to support employees and keep people safe at our production facilities, including temperature testing, cleaning, and sanitizing procedures, prohibiting visitors from entering our facilities, prohibiting international travel, limiting domestic travel, adopting social distancing practices and offering shift flexibility to keep our major production facilities open. We’re prioritizing overall health and wellness, which includes mental health support for employees. We have a dedicated focus on providing resources, including a Psychological Well-Being Toolkit. In the next six months, we will deliver

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Employe e We ll-Be ing

our employees have risen exponentially during this time. We have seen outstanding resilience amongst our teams, with employees putting in longer hours and additional effort to get work done. I strongly feel that this is a time to show more empathy, be role models, and be declarative on employee well-being and worklife balance. Goes without saying, that we are providing all possible infrastructure support to help employees work remotely and ensuring all safety precautions are taken at our manufacturing locations across India.

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To emerge stronger from the current situation, organizations will need to create a work environment that provides both professional and emotional stability, along with a drive to constantly learn and evolve

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Some of the business leaders feel that HR functions must help their companies increase sales and create new sources of revenue now and forever. What’s your take on that? Our business partnering HR roles at Cargill are defined in such a way that HR is expected to drive the enablement of business performance and sustainable growth including, consulting with business leaders on business issues, adding value by identifying proactive, innovative and customer-oriented HR solutions that are based on business unit objectives, help business leaders make better organization decisions to drive strategy execution and protect business assets. I believe that HR team should stay abreast of business issues and understand industry trends and best practices in the marketplace. They should anticipate the impact of changes on the workforce and business and


COVID is new to everyone and people were finding it difficult to manage everything during the crisis. What HR lessons you have learned during this pandemic that you can implement and help the industry? One of the biggest lessons all of us can learn is that employee well-being should continue to be the top priority for all organiza-

This pandemic has made us realize the importance of building skillsets of employees. Ability to be resilient, flexible, adaptable and learn has become an important talent criteria tions. To emerge stronger from the current situation, organizations will need to create a work environment that provides both professional and emotional stability, along with a drive to constantly learn and evolve. HR teams need to continue to invest more time and resources to improving the health and wellbeing of employees, supporting them through hard times, by being more empathetic and people focused in their approach. This pandemic has also made us realize the importance of building skillsets of employees. Ability to be resilient, flexible, adaptable and learn has become an important talent criteria. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

Employe e We ll-Be ing

use analytics, metrics, assessments, and diagnostics as appropriate to understand and influence business and human capital decisions. They must take positions about business issues that are grounded in sound data and thoughtful opinions. Collaborate on the development of metrics and review of data analytics to create action items and meaningful insights for the business. At Cargill, we encourage HR team to continuously look for opportunities to drive value in the business and articulate/pursue the resources needed to support them.

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Dr. M. Muneer

Horizontal alignment for strategy execution

Business Strategy

My last column outlined a practical approach to bring vertical alignment between SBUs and corporate using a process called cascading. For total alignment, horizontal alignment between business and functional units too is needed

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process called ‘’integration’’ is what we have been using over two decades for our clients. Spilling the secrets for the first time for the general public. Integration enables same-level business units within the total enterprise to coordinate their strategic objectives and support the overall corporate strategy. This alignment will bring in much better overall results than the isolated individual unit performance. The following figure captures the integration concept.

Integreation for Horizontal Alignment

Source: CustomerLab

Corporate Strategy map/ Scorecard

Aligning similar level business units 106

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The component-manufacturing division of one of our clients makes parts for its global customers, and its own consumer goods division also uses some of these components. By using the transfer-pricing mechanism, the consumer goods division achieved a competitive advantage in its industry. Another client, bleeding crores a day, was trying to turn around, and the founder CMD wanted to know from his business heads where the problems were. All of them claimed they were doing

As in cascading for vertical alignment, integration follows a similar four-stage process, viz., defining the organizational position, developing an action plan, applying techniques, and finally, sustaining the efforts of integration


The component-manufacturing division of one of our clients makes parts for its global customers, and its own consumer goods division also uses some of these components. By using the transfer-pricing mechanism, the consumer goods division achieved a competitive advantage in its industry

Business Strategy

their jobs well, leaving the CMD as the only reason for the nearbankruptcy status. We called for a management meeting with all functional and business unit heads along with the founder. The discussions were foused on growth, quality issues, process modifications, and talent development. We added strategy execution as a key focus area. Strategy maps and scorecards became central to all performance meetings. As a result, the meeting participants turned more objective and less shrugging off responsibilities and started offering assistance to those falling behind in targets. Nothing that happens in a company is the sole responsibility of a single business head is the wisdom we keep giving. Action plan for behind-target units was put together with the help of a cross-member committee, guided by us. Information sharing and team alignment ensured better execution of objectives. The integration helped the company achieve both collective creative problem solving skills and teamwork culture. Crossfunctional and cross-business integration of people ensured faster turnaround. Boundaryless working beyond the defined organization structure turned out to be most useful. As in cascading for vertical alignment, integration follows a similar four-stage process, viz., defining the organizational position, developing an action plan, applying techniques, and finally, sustaining the efforts of integration.

Stage 1: What’s your organizational relationship position?

Identify which business and functional units are at the same level as your own unit and where all you interact. Also decide on what relationships you have with other units from the three possibilities – Customer/supplier, joint processes, or similar function? As an example of customer/ supplier position, the IT department provides system and other technology support to a business unit. The two scorecards of the SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Business Strategy

two units share objectives reflecting this horizontally aligned relationship. The IT scorecard objectives may include "Equip employees with CRM system skills” and the SBU scorecard objectives may include "Improve cross sales e”, for instance. Many units jointly hold responsibility for functions such as supply chain. The supply chain group unit's scorecard objectives reflect this integrated relationship. Purchasing unit wants to "minimize order inaccuracy", Stores department aims for "justin-time inventory", distribution

We normally start the integration by discussing with the peer unit leaders on the types of relationships they currently have and what may be ideal for the enterprise strategy. This will then lead to an integration meeting of all relevant unit leaders together

folks want to “improve on-time deliveries”, and so on. The third position of a similar function is something like HR teams within different business units of an enterprise. Each of them should have scorecards that would be similar, and objectives and even measurements will be the same. Targets of course will vary.

Stage 2: What’s your action plan?

Any action plan must include details on accountability, sequence, and scope. Answering the following questions will get you to the action plan. Who will be responsible for deciding on the same level units, and who will take a call on which ones to be aligned and when? Who is responsible for implementing the integration? Whether one should integrate units on a priority basis or can it be done together? Or, should there be a sequential integration? Should we look at an optimum number of peer business unit relationships for better management? How many will be too many? What could be the resource commitments from each unit? Will it affect the regular work, and if so, in what way?

Stage 3: What techniques to use?

We normally start the integration by discussing with the peer unit leaders on the types of relationships they currently have and what may be ideal for the enterprise strategy. This will then lead to an integration meeting of all 108

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CustomerSupplier Relationship

• Periodic meetings (virtual or in-person) to review performance against SLA • Discuss which objectives are working well and which are not and plan for improvement • Communicate out to others on early success, progress on goals and share across both units

Joint Process Relationship

• Periodic joint meetings to present results of common objectives • Set up cross functional teams at lower levels to drive optimization of individual unit processes to maximize the entire process results

Similar Function Relationship

• Periodic meetings, not beyond monthly, to examine and improve the function for driving enterprise strategy • Share best practices in intranet to improve performance

other for identifying best practices. We recommend common metrics to benchmark performances. This also triggers best practice sharing across units.

Stage 4: How to sustain the integration?

Sustenance is all about communicating with peer units about the integration efforts and sharing early successes thereof. Depending on the type of relationship, the above table outlines the type of communication appropriate. With integration comes alignment of peer units and this has a significant impact on strategic objectives of the enterprise. With this, organizations can eliminate the perennial finger-pointing between peer units when performance is below par.

Business Strategy

relevant unit leaders together. Based on the type of relationship, identify goals for the integration meetings. For instance, if there is a customer-supplier relationship between two units, we normally develop a service-level agreement (SLA) that specifies each unit’s deliverables. A good SLA will have objectives that support the “customer” needs and the larger enterprise strategy, a framework that will promote dialogue, and it will enable the prioritization of objectives and support requests. Many organizations that have SLAs fail to execute them well because they don’t hold periodic joint meetings to ensure that customer service as per expectations set, don’t focus on the critical objectives that drive performance of both units, or don’t use the same measures to define success. If two business units have joint process ownership, we push all participants to commit to the same. We also map their contributions to the joint process by specifying each unit’s input and output from the process. During the integration meeting, in this case, ensure maximum performance across the entire process instead of optimizing some parts of the process amongst some units. We have seen resistance from unit leaders as they push for altering intermediate process targets for an optimization of the overall results. This should not be allowed. Also, remove redundant activities from the various units. When two or more units have similar function relationship, we force them to learn from each

Muneer as the MD of CustomerLab Solutions and Co-Founder of the non-profit Medici Institute, helps organizations align strategy with people and processes. Contact: muneer@customerlab.biz SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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TechHR India Startup

Being at the forefront of change with

People Matters TechHR India Startup Program 2020 The pandemic has led HR and WorkTech startups to focus more on value creation and problem solving for the future. And for startups who aim to be at the forefront of this opportunity, People Matters TechHR India Startup program 2020 presented just the right forum to connect with all the players of the HR and Work ecosystem

By Drishti Pant

The future of work is already here! Are you ready for it?

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ccording to the People Matters State of HR Technology Report 2019-20, the extended segment of work (that includes workforce productivity, gig economy, enterprise benefits, workforce healthcare and robotics) would be valued at approximately $300 Bn. The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has further accelerated the pace of digital transformation and created a great scope for HR and work tech startups to flourish, as organizations redesign the way they work and operate in a physical/virtual environment.

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It is safe to say that intelligent automation will become a key component for any company to ensure business continuity and will play a significant role in augmenting the power of the human workforce. But then most companies would also tighten their budgets. For work tech vendors it becomes all the more critical to focus on creating solutions that add value to a business. For this, they need to understand the pain points of business leaders, HR leaders and the workforce, and also be aware of how the world of people and work is shaping up. And what better place than the People Matters TechHR


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TechHR India Startup

Startup Program India 2020, where the emerging HR and work tech entrepreneurs get the opportunity to learn from the progressive business & HR Leaders, HR Analysts, and HR Technology experts. The key focus of HR and WorkTech startups should now be on value creation and problem solving for the future. And for startups who aim to be at the forefront of this opportunity, People Matters TechHR India Startup program 2020 presented just the right forum to connect with all the players of the HR and Work ecosystem. Since the last five years, People Matters TechHR Startup program has enabled over 600+ HR and Work Tech startups. Now this year, in a new avatar, the program was back again, to help entrepreneurs of emerging startups network with and learn from the community on one platform. This year 18 startups participated in the program and had the opportunity to accelerate their learning journey in a virtual experience. From recruitment to benefits and rewards to learning and development, a variety of HR tech solutions were part of this year’s program. Each startup showed how they have transformed their solutions to make them more relevant and useful in the new reality of work. Adapting to the remote working scenario, the hybrid work culture, and acknowledging

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TechHR India Startup

aspects like well-being were also evident. As Manoj Kohli, Country Head, Softbank India shared, “Startup founders need to study the change of consumer behavior due to COVID-19.” The startup pitches reflected how some of the emerging HR tech players are indeed addressing the current people challenges or are improvising their current solutions as per the changing needs. While HR and work tech startups undergo transformation based on the needs of their consumers, so did People Matters TechHR Startup Program.

It is safe to say that intelligent automation will become a key component for any company to ensure business continuity and will play a significant role in augmenting the power of the human workforce Here’s how People Matters TechHR India Startup Program 2020 was different from previous years: An innovation hub: More than 5,000 talent leaders, HR professionals, tech innovators, and speakers came together on one platform for inspiration, co-creation, exchange of ideas, and a commitment to action. The participants of the program got the opportunity to connect with them and build business opportunities. A product showcase page visitor database was provided to the participants for two days of the 5-day People Matters TechHR India Virtual Conference.

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At the Innovation Hub, startups were able to showcase their best practices, success stories and manage visitor queries or product showcases via their startup business representatives for two days from 11 - 12 August 2020. Virtual startup pitches to investors of leading VC firms: All 18 participants of the program were able to present their ideas and solutions to investors like Manoj Kohli, Country Head, Softbank India; Dhiraj Gupta, Venture East; Manu Rikhye, GrowX Ventures; Sajith Pai, Blume Ventures; Digvijay Singh, Indian Angel Network; and Shanti Mohan, Let’s Venture, among others. A dedicated slot for Startup Pitches during the live days (Aug 11 & 12) - gave a perfect opportunity to pitch products to leading Investors and VCs and also connect with all who were interested in knowing how the products and services would innovatively solve HR & Work Tech challenges. Online Face-to-face Meetings: On the People Matters TechHR Virtual Platform, the participants of the program could set up oneto-one video meetings with anyone in their connected network. With one-to-ones and conversations they could also gather more insights to improvise and innovate their solutions further as per the current needs and demand. Build connections for now & the future: All the participants of the programs got the opportunity to rate all their potential connections based on their conversations and store them in the dashboard as leads. Once the connection is


Way forward: Making most of the opportunities

As in his keynote at People Matters TechHR India, John Sumser, Principal Analyst and Founder, HRExaminer said, “Intelligent tools can be the headlight of the car that can help us drive through the foggy weather.” Another speaker, Professor Christopher Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard Graduate School of Education said, “Tech is going to change every aspect of work in the future.”

In fact, an added feature of Dedicated Network Analytics provides the participants deeper analytics. Not only does it save all the conversations and leads, but also gives insights on how many attendees visited and interacted with the products listed in the innovation hub

TechHR India Startup

made, contacts now remain active on their dashboard and the People Matters TechHR mobile app. In fact, an added feature of the dedicated network analytics provides the participants with deeper analytics. Not only does it save all the conversations and leads, but also gives insights as to how many attendees visited and interacted with the products listed in the innovation hub. Participate & Network on the go: On the Go! For the participants who were working from home and their laptop screens was busy with office work, everything was also made available and accessible on mobile. The participants got a dedicated conference App to build their network and have conversations on the go. “There is a ‘feel’ about a physical meet, but it was wonderful this time for startups with their pitches being witnessed by all. The amount of LinkedIn views we got post the pitch was amazing,” shared Vinay Dalal, Co-Founder, TalBrum.

With tech being the left, right, and center focus for employers, for HR and work tech startups their ability to create valuable solutions that help organizations transition into the new normal of work will determine their success in the marketplace. How these 18 startups who participated in this year’s People Matters TechHR Startup Program make their mark in the months and years to come, and utilize the networks and connections built during these couple of days and feedback from investors and HR leaders to make their solutions more impactful is to look forward to. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Meet the participants of People Matters TechHR India Startup Program Here are the 18 promising startups who participated in the People Matters TechHR’20 Startup Program

PerspectAI

TechHR India Startup

Founded in the year: 2017 Founded by: Jignesh Talasila, Sai Suraj Vanka & Dr. Puranjaya Singh (Ex-Chief of Psychology Mercer Mettl) Key problems addressed by the solution: Boring and lengthy assessments, long and tedious screening process, quick and actionable insights on candidate-job fit

Founded in the year: 2018 Founded by: Ashish Kumar Jha Key problems addressed by the solution: Affordable, available and adaptable learning product to develop broad-spectrum communication skills

Coursmy

PayReview

PeakPerformer.io

Officekit HR by M2H Infotech LLP

Founded in the year: 2018 Founded by: Amit Singh Key problems addressed by the solution: Workforce challenges - Changing work role, changing workforce & digital transformation

Founded in the year: 2020 Founded by: Aishwarya Goel, Gaurav Jhunjhnuwala Key problems addressed by the solution: Scalability, affordability, and justifying clear ROI to bring behavioral change through coaching across employee levels

FlowTrack

Founded in the year: 2020 Founded by: Chandra Kumar Sivasubramaniam, Sridhana Senthilkumar & Suryakumaran Sivakumaran Key problems addressed by the solution: Cloud-based user activity monitoring software provides contextual data and insights that enable small to large organizations to be more productive, secure, and compliant 114

Vyakta Consulting Services Pvt Ltd.

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Founded in the year: 2017 Founded by: Anuraag Srivastav Key problems addressed by the solution: Enabling leaders to take data driven talent decisions

Founded in the year: 2016 Founded by: Mohammed Faizan Lanka Key problems addressed by the solution: Collaborating Talent, Technology and Transformation, making processes simpler and more effective

Emgage by Oases Technovations LLP

Founded in the year: 2016 Founded by: Surendra Varma Key problems addressed by the solution: Helps SMEs build their HR department from scratch, managing complete HR through virtual HR helpdesk, simplify and automate human resource management


FLYTTA

ConnectVithMe by Abda Digital

TalBrum- An HPSPL Initiative

Zappyhire

Hiringplug™ by TalenTECH Solutions Pvt Ltd

Rezoomex

Founded in the year: 2016 Founded by: Vikramjit Singh Sahaye Key problems addressed by the solution: Combines human & artificial intelligence to acquire top talent

Founded in the year: 2020 Founded by: Vinayak Joglekar Key problems addressed by the solution: AI driven tech assessment and ranking with minimal involvement of technical interview panel and measurable improvement in quality of hiring

Snaphunt

Centre4posh

TITAN

Rupyo

Founded in the year: 2016 Founded by: Rahul Kanuganti Key problems addressed by the solution: Mobility platform to manage employee relocations and work essential deliveries for WFH

Founded in the year: 2015 Founded by: Vinay Dalal & Praveen Pankajakshan Key problems addressed by the solution: Helping MSMEs reset & restart in the new reality of work with a collaborative HRMS

Founded in the year: 2020 Founded by: Ashish Kamotra Key problems addressed by the solution: Helps companies improve employee productivity and internal collaboration for the mobile workforce

Founded in the year: 2018 Founded by: Deepu Xavier Key problems addressed by the solution: Smart outbound recruitment and automated candidate profile enrichment using data science and AI based assessments

TechHR India Startup

Founded in the year: 2017 Founded by: Tulika Tripathi Key problems addressed by the solution: Offers transparent and convenient hiring experience for both employers and job-seekers

Founded in the year: 2015 Founded by: Sravan Narasipuram Key problems addressed by the solution: Creating digital business cards using digital technologies to drive contact less sharing

Founded in the year: 2017 Founded by: Kanishk Agarwal Key problems addressed by the solution: A 360 degree holistic solution which covers all the three aspects of sexual harassment at the workplace i.e. Compliance, redressal and prevention

Founded in the year: 2020 Founded by: Shivin Khanna and Pragun Jindal Key problems addressed by the solution: Rupyo helps employers support their employees’ financial health by bringing flexibility to their salary

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THANK YOU for making Asia's Largest HR & WorkTech conference a roaring success. Together, we have rewritten the playbook wonderfully well. People Matters would like to thank you for making TechHR India 2020 a grand success. Thank you for joining the entire HR industry in rewriting the playbook of all business and work. Your presence has made the experience of penning the new rules for the world of business, an absolute pleasure.

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Visty Banaji

Learn – Earn – Return

The road less travelled

A template for building a career in HR without constantly looking over the shoulder to compare with others

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This hill, though high, I covet to ascend; The difficulty will not me offend. For I perceive the way to life lies here. Come, pluck up, heart; let's neither faint nor fear. Better, though difficult, the right way to go, Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.

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his quotation, and indeed all the others cited below, is from 'The Pilgrim's Progress' by John Bunyan. This allegory, which provides a symbolic vision of the good man’s pilgrimage through life, was, at one time, second only to the Bible in popularity. Perhaps some words from it can provide guidance for a good HR person’s progress through a career in the profession. Most budding HR managers today are concerned about the trajectories their careers are taking and what their most career-enriching steps could be. They are particularly troubled by the | SEPTEMBER 2020

Should budding HR managers pursue the path of job-hopping for higher compensation, or seek instead the unique exposure and learning they can gain in their current organization? number of jobs their batchmates from campus had already changed and are worried that those CVs (and take-home salaries, bonuses and long-term incentives) are far weightier than their own. Should they listen to head-hunter blandishments more attentively or stick with their current employer

who was, many said, providing them with great exposure and learning?

Lemmings have limited careers

If you continue in this direction you are likely to experience wearisomeness, painfulness, hunger, perils, nakedness, sword, lions,


which are essential for making any meaningful HR contributions.

Learn—Earn—Return

A sound and meaningful HR career should have three components: learn, earn, and return, all of which are present at every stage in an HR professional’s career. There are three such stages, occupying, very roughly, ten, twenty-five and twenty years each. The test of professional success doubtless has to be how well learning, earning, and returning have taken place in each of the three stages. I. Learning Through Selfdevelopment, Role Models and Immersive Exposure Though the hill is high, I still desire to walk up it. I don’t care how difficult it is, because I understand that it leads to the way of life.

Cheer up heart and don’t grow faint or fear, because even if it is difficult, it is better to go this way because it is the right way, for while the wrong way is easier, it ends in anguish. Consider the following eight key sub-domains of HR, which form part of the HR competency model some of us assisted the National HRD Network to craft: • Strategic HRM • Organization Design • Workforce Planning & Staffing • Talent Management • Learning & Development • Total Rewards • Performance Management • Employee Relations An HR MBA should have basic skills in all of these and in-depth knowledge of one or two. No academic institution can provide the practical grounding that

SEPTEMBER 2020 |

The road less travelled

dragons, darkness, and, in a word, death, and who knows what else. One of the largest contributors to early career missteps is the penchant youngsters have for making themselves miserable by observing how well their reference peers are progressing. Such envy gives rise to serious career choice errors. The most egregious error is the same as the one the US made in the Vietnam war: counting what could be counted even though that’s not what really counted. Career starters can easily count the number of jobs their peer group has changed and, in recent days at least, know down to the last Rupee how much they cost their latest employer. But these are far less important than the unique experiences and learning the envious observer could be gaining in her/his organization. The real damage occurs when the discontented youngster seeks to imitate the job-hopping, butterflyjumps that others have been making. In an attempt to outclass the reference group on the “boastable” measures, people end up moving over-frequently in pursuit of marginally higher compensation, interrupting their learning and having to rebuild from scratch the relationships and trust

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The road less travelled

is available on the job and the learning component of careers cannot be complete unless there is significant exposure if not full-time experience in each of these. In-depth expertise must also expand to at least three or four, whether the plan is to become an HR generalist or specialist. In the latter case, of course, job rotations as well as additional education must particularize the chosen area. Any large corporation can provide opportunities

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profits. Movements between staff functions are rarer but no less the valuable for that. II. Earning Respect, Reputation and Returns You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. Earnings made during peak career are not to be measured only in terms of financial returns. Monetary advantages may follow with a lag of a decade or more after the work itself

ing breakthroughs. Granted only a few of us have more than one or two genuinely pioneering initiatives to our credit in long careers— aspiring to that grail and the proximity to attaining it must be the first evaluation criterion. Second, a brilliant career must also be judged by the number of brilliant careers it spawns. Our best HR leaders can be recognized from a mile off by the number of leaders coming into their own who acknowledge a

A sound and meaningful HR career should have three components: learn, earn, and return. The test of professional success doubtless has to be how well learning, earning, and returning have taken place in each stage of an HR professional’s career to acquire very different perspectives to view an HR problem and the available tools for its solution, starting from an operating unit, progressing to a regional hub or business vertical center, right up to the corporate headquarters, with an overseas perspective thrown in somewhere along the way. All promising staff executives, including those in HR, should also have a stint in a line role where they are responsible for clear targets of sales, production, or even | SEPTEMBER 2020

brought excitement, respect and repute. Instead, the final touchstone of success in this component has to be the growth of aggregate and lasting happiness for people "who can never repay you" apart from whatever organizational goals bring recognition and rewards. What makes an HR career outstanding during this most demanding and scrutinized part of it? First, the extent to which the strategies, plans, and systems implemented are pioneer-

debt of gratitude to them. Finally, the best career reputations are earned not by those who just take brilliant decisions but the ones who leave behind a legacy of properly positioned people, suitably tailored systems and cultures vibrant with belongingness and commitment that far outlast them. III. Returning Debt by Teaching, Preaching and Institutionalizing A man there was, though some did count him mad, the


preserving and transmitting function that various institutions play, whether they be professional bodies, chambers of commerce or universities. Starting from the second stage of their careers but with very much more time and maturity at their disposal in stage three, HR professionals can and do make a valuable contribution to making these institutions guardians and transmitters of the stock of expertise and values the HR profession has garnered. ticing everything they preach, their imaginations can paint truly aspirational scenarios for which the profession can aim. Secondly, the path of preaching, or creative destruction. For radical improvements to take place in the profession, much of the charlatanry and ritual that has been unquestioningly added over the years as well as the fluff of current fashion have to be jettisoned. This requires some of those at the tertiary career stage, with thick skins and few stakes in garnering organizational rewards, to play the destructive role of Socratic gadflies. Naturally, those who take this role to extremes are well-advised to develop a taste for hemlock beforehand. Finally, the path of institutionalization, the more prosaic but no less vital

Be oroud of your scars

Though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought... And so we come to the end of a hypothetical HR pilgrim’s progress. Not as exalted as the one concluded by Christian in Bunyan’s allegory but, earth-bound as we are, it will have to suffice for our purposes. Hopefully, it will provide enough checkboxes for young, ambitious HR people to tick through the next few decades.

The road less travelled

more he cast away the more he had. The time will come when the flow of receiving must be exceeded by the return to the reservoir of professional expertise and character models from which all of us gained when starting our careers. There are at least three, not necessarily exclusive, paths available for replenishing the intellectual capital of the profession. In many ways, these paths resemble the Trimurti in carrying out the vital tasks of creation, destruction, and preservation. Firstly, the path of teaching, or inspirational creation. Those who have been pioneers during their active careers are likely to continue being creative thought leaders when they replace working-boots with teaching-trainers. Freed from the constraint of prac-

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

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Why we need to engage in agendaless conversation Once the hub of all office interactions and buzz, the office cafeteria is undergoing a huge change where sharing snacks and food is out, and staggered lunch hours is in

The N e w Workpla ce

By Vidyut Lata Dhir, Vikal Kapoor, Madhura Gondhalekar

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ot being able to have conversations leads to stress because people are not able to vent out feelings and share their aspirations. Lack of empathy in the workplace leads to mistrust and further hinders freeflowing conversation. This has become a major cause for concern and, unfortunately, often goes unnoticed or not given its due importance. Added to this is the unprecedented pandemic of COVID-19 due to which small talk at workplaces has stopped because majority of the people (who have managed to retain their jobs) are working from home. Research has shown that just talking or venting out feelings can reduce stress. One study showed that higher well-being was associated with spending less time alone, and more time talking to others. In order to facilitate conversations, we have devised the concept of ‘agendaless conversations’ | SEPTEMBER 2020

to foster social interaction and relationships. Conversations are to be unassisted and unbiased, where each participant feels valued and fresh perspectives pour in. "Agendaless"; seemingly a misnomer is paradoxical to its true purpose and content. Far from being "agendaless", this is a tool with a purpose and can be adopted by organizations to help people speak without fear of experiencing retribution or judgment. It can work as a breather if we can first disable our automatic and oftentimes misleading prejudgment of others. When we encourage love and understanding we can then pay attention to the entirety of a ‘person’.

Active listening does not mean just hearing but also understanding what the other person has to say

Togetherness can be fostered by helping employees relieve themselves off their emotional baggage and leverage the power of positive emotions. Happiness should ideally be a constant state of mind, not a magical switch that can be turned on and off. Agendaless conversations are not hard to have. In fact, counter-intuitive as it might sound, we do have some guidelines for carrying out effortless, agendaless conversations. They can be done at the organizational, interpersonal, and individual levels.

Organizational level

Dissolve Authority: The fear of reprisal is prominent in informal setups like corporate offices and educational institutions, where employees are often afraid of approaching their supervisors and students their teachers, to discuss topics unrelated to work. The sense of authority needs to be dissolved for a better


flow of ideas and collective accountability. Organize and nurture psychological safe spaces: Team psychological safety is defined by Amy Edmondson as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. It is a sense of confidence that other people in the group will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up. This confidence stems from mutual respect, trust, and giving the benefit of the doubt to each other. Rebuild Human Connections: Engage in heart-toheart conversations wherein participants can feel free to discuss anything and everything H2H conversations can be truly agendaless only if there is psychological safety present in the group. Empathy: Empathy is crucial to building trust. It is essential to understand the experience and feelings of others sensitively and accurately as they are revealed in the moment-tomoment interaction. Empathy is a deep and subjective understanding of the individual with the individual. 1-2-4-All: Developed by McCandless and Lipmanowicz, it encourages people to participate in conversations. People feel comfortable talking to one single person rather than a large crowd at once. This method

allows people to pair up and share individual ideas and then 2-3 minutes to discuss and find surprises, contradictions, and commonalities. Then the duos pair up and are given 4 minutes to share and continue knowing each other or building ideas. Groups are paired up till all of them have come together.. It engages every individual and helps create safe spaces for expression, diminishes power differentials, and builds naturally toward consensus or shared understanding.

Individual level

Open mindset: Agendaless conversations cannot work unless the participants remove their cognitive

The N e w Workplace

Interpersonal level

Empathy is a deep and subjective understanding of the individual with the individual

biases before engaging with others. Freeing up all expectations, shedding prejudices and biases can promote organizational relationships. Active listening: Active listening does not mean just hearing but also understanding what the other person has to say. The ‘way’ something is said is just as important as the actual words spoken. Observing non-verbal cues is also essential. Enjoy the Process: As children, most people have partaken in carefree playing and joyfully interacted with peers without any preconceived biases, or agendas. As adults we find it more difficult to engage with those different from us, therefore it is imperative that while rebuilding human connections we are aware of such differences. Despite being busy with hectic schedules, we need to create a safe and secure environment around us where we can indulge in friendly, casual and informal conversation without any predetermined agenda in mind.

Vidyut Lata Dhir is the Professor Leadership, Organizational Behaviour & Design Thinking, Bhavan’s SPJIMR, Mumbai; and Vikal Kapoor is the Co-founder and CEO at Stateset; Madhura Gondhalekar is Research Associate, Bhavan’s SPJIMR. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Vinodh Chelambathodi

The learning frame and interdisciplinary thinking

Learning & Development

It is time to design new organizational learning practices that promote interdisciplinary collaboration, that facilitate thinking and conscious decision making at all levels, and that focus on what we can solve rather than what we have learned

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he pandemic has bestowed an unprecedented opportunity for organizations to take their learning philosophy to the future. Simplicity should take over the new learning design because there is no other substitute. This brings a singular clarity and urgency of purpose

Learning takes a new name and a shape every decade, and this decade belongs to Futuristic Learning. Having said this, where does the learning take the learner? To a future with possibilities or to the past where the learning can be inferred from? | SEPTEMBER 2020

to experiment and design an entirely new organizational learning practice. The long path to recovery presents us with two distinct choices. The first is to recoil back to normal, following the path of least resistance, reverting to old tested methods, predicted outcomes, settling down with yesterday’s results. This choice is less risky, but might result in middling performance or even failing in the new world.

The second choice is an exploratory path, to experiment, chart a new course in the new world. There is no normal to go back to and instead, we should explore and stop the gravitational pull of the older methods to capitalize on learning through the crisis. Following the second path, we can be guided by what I call the 'Learning Frame’.

The learning frame

The new Learning Frame


Learning takes a new name and a shape every decade, and this decade belongs to Futuristic Learning. Having said this, where does the learning take the learner? To a future with possibilities or to the past where the learning can be inferred from?

The thinking loop

Learning is a loop that connects the past and the future in the present continuum. It is a continuous activity and becomes complete when the learner interprets his/her experience under the light of newly acquired knowledge and thus prepares himself for the future. This pastpresent-future connectivity creates a learning loop, which I call the Thinking Loop—a learning loop where the learner revels in the present, very much aware

of future possibilities, and having imbibed the past lessons. The Thinking Loop completes the learning process and the newly imbibed information is now ready-to-apply knowledge. This transition, aided by reflection (thinking), is significant for a thinking organization. A thinking organization facilitates thinking and conscious decision making at all levels, unlike the ‘Few think and others execute’ type of organization. In a thinking organization, every role should be associated with a share of thinking: this should be the objective of learning.

Learning & Development

should accommodate: 1. Forecasted and planned interventions 2. Integrated Learning approach 3. Pull Learning (Intrinsic Motivation) It would promote interdisciplinary collaboration, creating compounded value, a sense of community, encouraging employees to learn new competencies. Alongside the Learning Frame, we need to consciously construct an agile matrix with multidimensional role architecture by the name 'Climbing Frame'. Simplicity is another unexpected outcome of the pandemic and we need to redesign not just learning, but also recalibrate roles in the new future. The re-engineered learning philosophy—the Learning Frame— compliments the employee’s transition through the Climbing Frame. The new cadence of learning is short, agile, and focused bursts of activities that are more energizing and engaging. We need to ask our employees relevant questions like: • What have you learned from the pandemic in terms of focus, faster decisions, and less bureaucracy? • Where have you deployed Agile teams? • Where do we retreat, adapt, and advance to be ready for the future?

Quantifying the personalized learning expedition

Learning is vision-driven and technology will help in realizing this vision. TechSEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Learning & Development

nology aids in catering to different learning styles and in transforming the landscape of learning. There is a formula, the Individual Learning Disposition© or ILD, that can quantify employees’ interest to learn across domains and add capability. ILD is driven by two factors: 1. Aspiration - What one can learn 2. Gratification - What one can gain from what one had learned

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As a formula, it is written thus: ILD = [ (What one can learn * How one can learn) * Gratification ] / Learning Frequency Frequency is the number of learning instances in a year, calculated at 1 for once a year, 0.75 for twice a year, 0.5 for thrice a year, and 0.25 for every quarter. The more frequently learning happens in a year, the higher an individual's or organization's ILD score will be. This formula reflects that the

Linear growth is essentially a survival instinct and it forces a person to fit into molds of career options that are forged for people who sidestep risks and are hesitant to learn. With the dawn of interdisciplinary thinking, we should encourage people to make career choices to help with non-linear growth

| SEPTEMBER 2020

most desirable state is for learning to happen across the year. Individual and organizational learning efficiency can be similarly calculated: • Individual Learning Efficiency = Actual individual learning man days / Desired individual man days • Organization Learning efficiency = Actual learning man days (collective) / Desired man days (collective) Individual Learning Disposition can drive astounding Organizational learning efficiency. When we dematerialize the medium, the learning becomes unconditional and can happen by choice.

Non-linear growth through interdisciplinary thinking

Sooner or later organizations will realize that the career ladder is a limiting, regressive way to approach employee development. Linear growth is essentially a survival instinct and it forces a person to fit into molds of career options that are forged for people who sidestep risks and are hesitant to learn. With the dawn of interdisciplinary thinking, we should encourage people to make career choices to help with non-linear growth. Employees can and shall pursue roles that need


industry and setting the aspirations high.

Measure what we can solve, not what we have learned

these crossbred competencies that are unique and builds strategic capability in the workforce. We need to include sociallearning components in our learning programs. These components include discussion boards, learner journeys and should focus on cohorts of people undertaking learning together, alongside self-paced learning of employees. These programs will enable a fully digital experience. We also need to drop certain old practices such as: 1. Ad hoc Interventions

2. Training in Silos 3. Push Training (External push) We can begin at the educational level with Think Labs which would trigger “problem solving thinking” in graduates and facilitate the metanoia where they imbibe the requisite knowledge and apply in business simulations. They should be trained to reflect and exercise a degree of decision making vested on them through simulations. The idea is to engage them by sharing stories from the

Learning & Development

We should recalibrate our metrics and measure what one can solve from what one has learned. This is what we would need to measure if at all we want to measure

The “reframed” learning objective gives us an opportunity to rethink and design the learner’s end-toend experience. We should focus upon human connections, creating intentional, meaningful interactions. We should aggressively adapt to new practices— to stay not just relevant, but focused on a cause and purpose. The learning ability of people and their interest shifts continuously with the advent of new technologies and skillsets. We need more thinking organizations to sort the clamor around us. Today, universities are extending interdisciplinary courses that interlink regular streams in the hope of producing a new world order that can sort out complex problems. We should recalibrate our metrics and measure what one can solve from what one has learned. This is what we would need to measure if at all we want to measure.

Vinodh Chelambathodi is Architect—Futuristic HR Practices and CHRO—Financial Software and Systems. SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Past Month's events

Knowledge + Networking

Awards - Are You In The List 2020?

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People Matters 28th August 2020 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. Organizations will have to equip themselves to deal with the rapid rate of change and all sorts of crises. And one major factor which will determine who will come on top of all the shifts is leadership. 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 successfully hosted the 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 which aimed to identify these very emerging HR leaders who can become the answer to the challenges in the People and Workspace.

SEPTEMBER 2020 | september

New Skills for a New World People Matters & Coursera 26th August 2020 To be competitive in today's rapidly evolving global economy, business and government leaders must understand which skills are essential for powering workforce transformation. In this webcast, we discussed some exclusive data and analysis that can help your organization develop a workforce development strategy which in turn is tailored to the unique opportunities and challenges of the new economy. We also found out how skill proficiency can correlate with inequities exposed by COVID-19.

People Matters TechHR India 2020 People Matters 10th August - 14th August We successfully hosted Asia’s Largest HR and Work Tech conference which was joined by the entire HR industry who supported us in rewriting the playbook for the new world of business and work. We hosted around 5,000+ HR & business leaders from 42 countries, 90 global speakers, and 104 content sessions. Through the 5 days, 12,747 connections were made, 33,543 discussions were created, 1128 virtual meetings scheduled, and the social media reach went up to 56 million with 20,000+ social engagements.

The State of Behavioral Learning 2020 - Research report launch! People Matters & Harappa Education 19th August In this research, using a first-of-its-kind benchmarking study, we studied the pre, during and post learning process to understand how companies are personalizing behavioral learning programs. The attendees received a complimentary copy of the research report who joined us at the discussion forum about the results of the survey to understand how companies think about behavioral skills and a growth mindset and what are some of the ‘missing’ behaviors that will drive business outcomes in this new world of work?

Make remote work more productive and engaging with Technology People Matters and Synergita 18th August You may have conducted hundreds of performance reviews over the course of your career, but in the era of COVID-19, everything is different. In this webcast, we deep-dived into the process of managing the performance of employees when everything is remote and digital. We also discussed various steps in remote supporting the employees to work as priorities, all of this by encouraging a culture of non- micromanaging.


Upcoming events People Matters TechHR Singapore 2020

2020

People Matters 7th - 11th September

People Matters BeNext Certification Program 14th - 16th September Online ICompanies across the world are facing a radically altered business landscape following the current pandemic. Going ahead, the growing digital competition and innovation may dictate a new organizational architecture in which emerging digital processes coexist with traditional ones.

This Masterclass will discuss fundamental shifts that organizations need to make in their processes and adoption mechanisms to navigate successfully. Join this Masterclass by Rajiv Gupta, Partner and Director, Boston Consulting Group to learn ways to build a sustainable digital vision by aligning the onset of rapid digital transformation with the existing enterprise systems and their intricacies for operational sustainability and growth.

Going Beyond Jobs: Skills & Work People Matters BeNext Certification Program 21st - 23rd September Online As organizations look at workplace planning very differently in the new normal, human resources leaders need to look at talent and human capital beyond “jobs” to em-

brace “work” and “contribution” as concepts underpinning talent practices. From gig, to flexible, to reimagining all people processes that will support and enable all kinds of contributors in the work value chain, join this masterclass by John Sumser, Founder, Principal, HRExaminer to re-imagine work and how work happens.

Knowledge + Networking

Online In Business-AsUnusual, 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, we 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. It also means that 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.

Crafting a Sustainable Digital Vision in a two-speed world

Reimagining Performance & Growth People Matters BeNext Certification Program 24th - 26th September Online Designing a performance management strategy has been “top of the agenda” for the last few years. There is now a big chance for a reboot and reset, given that numerous processes are having to evolve to adapt to the distance

economy. This workshop by Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst and Dean, Josh Bersin Academy will include discussions and exercises targeted to help delegates envision a new approach for growth and performance and through this, leverage the opportunity afforded by the Great Reset of productivity, meaning and innovation.

SEPTEMBER 2020 |

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Blogosphere >> Priyanka Bhowmik, Dr. Lalatendu Kesari Jena, Dr. Kalpana Sahoo

Work from Home during COVID-19 times: A curse in boon

b lo g o s p he r e

The work from home experiment has led to greater flexibility, but it has also led to the blurring of boundaries between work and life. Here are some useful tips to sustain your workplace practices

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t has been a while now that we are living amidst a pandemic-induced lockdown with working from home (WFH) becoming the new normal. A phenomenon long debated and longed for by many employees apparently does not seem to have the same effect on the physical, psychological, and productivity aspects of the employees. But before we investigate the cons of WFH, we must review the current world statistics on it. In US, the statistics showed that 75.4 percent of employees worked on-site and only 16.4percent WFH in the pre-COVID period. However, in between May 10 - May 26, 2020, the percentages stood reversed: about 71.7percent workers worked from home.. Mark Zuckerberg made a statement that by 2030, half of the company’s workforce will not have | SEPTEMBER 2020

to go to the office. Google’s WFH policy, initially, ended by 1 June 2020 but it has started to plan for an extension; Google chief, Sundar Pichai said who would be returning back to the office will be doing so with the highest safety strategies. In London, OMD closed all its offices and employees are now doing their work from

the safety of their homes. A Chevron official said that the health of their employees is more important than their profit. In India, the picture is no different. Dr. Sumit Mitra, CEO of Tesco Global Services, ordered 1000 laptops for people working from home, transported office equipment (including furniture)


more than 800 U.S. based employees on their experience while working from home. They found out that working from home has had positive effects on their daily work. They are more engaged and have a stronger sense of well-being and flexibility than they had while working from the office. Research findings evinced the fact that fathers working from home seemed more positive in their attitude than working mothers. There are, however, some sectors where work-

Engage in dialogue with employees and facilitate the same among them ing from home is not feasible. For example, Alvin Fu, the Managing Director of Reprise Digital, a Shanghai Ad Agency, said that it is not possible to brainstorm for creative work via electronic and digital media tools while working from home. Working remotely is also not possible in the logistic, law, and insurance sectors. The informal sector in India, the backbone of the Indian economy, is heavily labor-intensive and as such is not viable for

work from home. Even the sectors where WFH has been applied, there is a mixed reaction from the workforce. Some of them said work from home is materially affecting their daily lives. They do not want this to be a permanent fixture in their lives. The reason they state for this is that there is no proper lunch hour, breaks, and proper transition from “work to no work”. Role stress, overload from balancing work and family issues, lack of perceived organizational support and connectedness, the impact of the physical environment of job and subjective experience of time on work stress: all these can have a serious impact on well-being. Thus, WFH is leading to the commoditization of private space. Compartmentalizing personal space and ensuring privacy is more difficult when homeworking; you are always “on duty” when homeworking, physically present always but mentally spent. There are issue with respect to lack of factors like recognition at work, absence of people who care and share, evaluation of progress, decreased employee engagement, and in turn, employee performance. Thus, this new(ish) WFH is a different ball game altogether compared to the previous WFH the workforce has experienced. This SEPTEMBER 2020 |

b lo g o sp he r e

to homes of employees, took permission from the Indian Government to operate an international business from home and quarantined his data service centers. TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) has informed 75percent of its staff strength that the tech major will move to permanent remote working within the next five years. Nasscom is currently reviewing labor laws from a WFH perspective and will be soon sending a report to the government. CP Gurnani, CEO of Tech Mahindra, said that in the first phase, the company may start “with 25percent employees” working from home. HCL has proposed a model where 50percent of its staff will work from home while the rest will be operating from the office and this will be on a rotational basis. McKinsey India has decided that most of the employees will WFH and implement changes in the working style due to the present situation that is still evolving. The banking sectors are also treading on a similar path; Deutsch Bank as well as City Bank have already declared that it will regain WFO only when it is safe for its employees to do so. E-commerce companies are also following a similar model. To study the effect of this new Work from Home, McKinsey recently surveyed

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• • • • •

b lo g o s p he r e

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Employers should account for factors like individual purpose, social cohesion, and empathetic relationship has been imposed externally, with no specific time allocation and it was a hasty transition and not a gradual planned shift. They are completely disconnected from the workplace and organizational setting. This brings us to the conclusion where we try to put forward some suggestions that can be followed to curate Work from Home (WFH) according to the need of the employees. The employer should make changes to adjust to the needs of the employees of each sector and not to follow a one-to-fit-all model. The employers should also take into consideration factors like individual purpose, | SEPTEMBER 2020

social cohesion, and empathetic relationship while drafting a goal-oriented action. A combination of different tactics should be used to tailor interventions to support employees in a personal and meaningful way in a situation when some groups are thriving and some are struggling to stay afloat. Here are some of the steps that can make the process easier to implement and sustain: • Support employees throughout and be flexible; • Show care and trust to employees; • Set realistic goals; • Review employees’ perfor-

mance, always provide them a pat on their back and recognize their diverse needs; Pay for the hidden cost; Always be a role model and a go to person for employees; Enhance factors of work engagement, well-being, and work effectiveness; Be compassionate and optimistic; Keep them motivated when they adjust to the new normal; Engage in dialogue with employees and facilitate the same among them and last but not the least; Pay heed to inclusion to create a network of teams and an atmosphere of psychological safety.

“Together we shall overcome this hurdle” should be the mantra to win this war.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Priyanka Bhowmik is working as a Senior Manager (Human Resource and Administration) with a Trust based out of Kolkata. Lalatendu Kesari Jena is an Assistant Professor, HR in Xavier School of Human Resource Management (XAHR), Xavier University, Bhubaneswar, India. Kalpana Sahoo is an Assistant Professor in the area of Organizational Behaviour at Xavier School of Human Resource Management (XAHR), Xavier University, Bhubaneswar, India.


RNI Details: Vol. XI, Issue No. 9, 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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