Amy Byrne, CHRO of CDK Global, oversees all aspects of human resources management and employee communications for more than 9,000 employees. Before joining CDK, Amy was with Avon Products, Inc. where she led the human resources organization for the Latin America and Global Brand Marketing businesses.
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, she shared her views on the future of work, upskilling and reskilling of employees, gender diversity etc. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Talking about the talent per se, what were the top trends of 2019 and what implications will they have for the year 2020?
Trends that kept me awake at nights are engagement and retention for employees. These are the real issues in India and worldwide. Younger generations don’t feel loyalty to companies in comparison to people who have been working for long years. Every company struggles with retaining and engaging the workforce.
In 2020 the evolution of gender diversity will imply at all levels. As an organization, we are also increasing investments in education and gender diversity. We are working hard enough to retain women in junior and senior level. Our internal survey shows us that we need to make flexible work arrangements, job sharing, ease women rejoining after maternity and retain them in the company to work in leadership roles.
What according to you should be the focus areas for HR in the year 2020?
I think it continues to be retention of talent, HiPo, relationship with the managers, management skills, and people performance management systems.
How do you see gender equality panning out in 2020? Will the disparity shrink in 2020?
I hope that every year the gap will narrow a bit. Men are the key to the gender diversity gap that is shrinking. For women who want to work and have a chance to work, they are under the parenting pressure. It has to be 50:50 partnership in the relationship. I believe that our society is evolving in that direction. Parents/partners should share the workload, and it will result in more success for both the partners. New couples should have an open conversation on what they will compromise and how are they going to manage their careers.
One thing you will implement in 2020 to make HR more agile?
Improvement of technology within my organization is my biggest key focus area.
What are the practices CDK global follows to align HR strategy with organizational & business strategy?
Our values directly reflect the behaviour that needs for a different strategy. Our business strategy under our current CEO is all about growth and to achieve that growth. We have two specific values that line up with our future horizons growth by staying curious and creating possibilities. We are outlining through those two values. We are no longer about cost containment, we are about thinking wild and thinking differently, and that’s how we can achieve growth. And that’s where HR is very tightly aligned with our business strategy.
We have seen a lack of accountability, and our current CEO has figured out that we need stronger responsibility for our P&L, so HR is instrumental in an organizational redesign that creates accountability for P&L and takes ownership and hence it will impact in the ultimate business results. We worked carefully on redesigning our organization from designing our values to executing it properly, and that’s how we are touching 9,000 employees.
How are the hiring sentiments in your sector?
It’s tough to attract tech talent, especially in the Silicon Valley, and that’s why India will continue to be the primary source of our product and talent development. Because there are highly capable, skilled people here and the competitiveness is so intense in Silicon Valley.
Do you think the future of work is about people or tech? How do you see the future of work?
I don’t think it can be either people or tech. I believe that the revolution of technology is at the forefront of the future of work. But, technology is not replacing people. I think over time we will see less of the more basic administrative duties and dramatic loss of jobs in any particular segment. Future of work will be more and more about tech-oriented jobs in the market and STEM education will continue to be necessary.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring leader?
Challenge yourself to take on work or new assignments. Even if you think you are incapable of it.