Technology remains the driving force behind the most advanced HR innovation programs. But what underpins success in the digital era, however, is an organisation’s strategy. In other words, its blueprint for growth and agility.
In an exclusive panel discussion presented by PeopleStrong and People Matters, three of the best minds in the HR industry highlighted the importance of formulating tech-driven people programs and policies that drive meaningful change and accelerate the next chapter of growth and expansion for businesses.
Turning crisis into opportunity
Marvin Victoriano, Chief People Officer at Inspiro, reflected on the growth opportunities posed by the global pandemic – particularly the increase in Inspiro’s workforce as a result of the upturn in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry amid the crisis. These challenges of growth are good problems to have, he said.
“During the lockdown, BPO companies expanded business because of the work-from-home option. But, in bringing everybody back on site, there's now this issue of, ‘how do we fit everyone?’” he said.
This period of success has prompted growing businesses like Inspiro to take an even more thoughtful and inclusive approach to managing the workforce.
“We have to have certain investments in terms of our site expansion if we really are to bring people in. Now, we have to look at having additional floors and additional locations,” Marvin said.
“In terms of the hybrid work concept, larger organisations need to invest more on tools. Problems that we encountered before [included] how to deploy personal computers to far-flung areas as we expanded our footprint and became more open to hiring people outside Metro Manila,” he said.
“There's a lot of education, information drives and campaigns. If you're a large organisation, you need to make sure that everybody receives the message consistently.”
Annella Heytens, Head of People Experience and Technology, APJC, at Amazon Web Services, also saw the AWS cloud business growing amid the lockdown.
“The reality is, the pandemic really didn't slow down our business,” she said. “In fact, it accelerated our business. We are seeing more work-from-home and more hybrid approaches to working. And so, the cloud lends itself naturally to improving the migration of solutions.”
Leading with empathy, adapting to change
When confronted with disruptions such as a global health crisis, business and HR leaders need to be experimentative to stay agile. But they also need to lead with empathy and purpose.
“We have to have the mindset to try different technologies to see which ones fit and which ones work for our requirements,” Annella said. “That's one of the nicest things today: the abundance of solutions.”
Yet, even with this abundance of solutions, she said, the whole point of leveraging technology in a time of accelerated growth is to maintain human connections across teams.
Annella called this “the opportunity to be human,” and urged HR leaders to “understand what's happening to employees around the world; [to lead] with empathy, be more inclusive, and understand the situations of different people across the organisation.”
For Prakash Rao, Chief Operating Officer at PeopleStrong, this mindset of empathy is part of what makes for a successful HR innovation strategy.
“Technology is built by people and run by people. It doesn't run on its own. So, HR will always be relevant as long as empathy is in play,” Prakash said.
The COO also encouraged HR professionals to lead as change agents. “A lot of consolidation is going to happen over the next few years as we move along. A lot of new technologies and processes will come in. We need to help organisations adapt to this change,” he said.
“Looking at ourselves as change agents is going to be the key change for HR over the next few years.”
Watch the exclusive panel discussion on the Growth & Agility Blueprint, which brings together critical insights, future predictions, and potential solutions to overcome challenges in a talent-driven economy.