The world may have vaccines in 2021 but it still needs the ability to respond and adapt to change continually. No wonder, just like 2020, 2021 will be another year marked by continuous reinvention, transformation, and adaptation. Companies will need to focus on purposeful transformation to tide over the vulnerabilities and create plans for managing a global workforce.
In an exclusive interaction with us, Jayati Roy, Director HR, Barco India, shares with us how customization of policies dependent on the differentiated target group will ensure we come out of this pandemic stronger together.
2021 will call for continuous reinvention. What are some of the ways you are reinventing the workplace at Barco?
2020 has been a year that will be etched in history as a year that brought about rapid change, testing the best of us globally. As we step into 2021, we realize that companies are bouncing back at an accelerated pace, as they reinvent themselves, their products, and their ways of working.
At Barco, we understand the imperativeness of having resilient policies to effectively bounce back from the disruptions brought by COVID-19. Our HR policies are focusing on innovation, resilience, team spirit, and hybrid working.
As we start working in the new normal, there are a number of changes we are bringing about in our policies and processes in order to adapt to the hybrid working style. With matters pertaining to our factory operations, we chose to focus a lot on safety measures at the workplace and aimed to ensure high levels of engagement for our software teams, as our associates worked from home. We are now working around all our processes – be it frequent feedback, innovation or organization transformations – keeping in mind the hybrid working future for us. Customization of policies dependent on the differentiated target group will ensure we come out of this pandemic stronger together.
Purposeful transformation is the need of the hour. How do you think companies need to do that in the second year of the pandemic?
As the world economic environment is changing, organizations too are discovering newer ways to adapt themselves to this change. Ensuring business continuity remains the most important criteria, and WFH (work from home) has been adopted as a preferred mode to facilitate continuity.
Flexibility, agility, speed, connectivity, thrift, and security are at the heart of the fast-evolving, deeply challenging new normal. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Even within an organization, the answer could look different across geographies, businesses, and functions. So, the future workplace decision will be a team exercise that takes into account location, human resources, technology, customer, and of course the business model.
Increasingly we will see companies investing in building a nimbler organization as they come out of the pandemic – focussed on creating a culture of continuous upskilling and reskilling. The role of the leader in ensuring that a distributed team performs seamlessly will become important, with companies, therefore, spending in coaching and handholding the first level leaders. Technological interventions will be adopted at a rapid pace and this will help as companies build capability around data, analytics, and predictability. Therefore companies will now invest in skill-building and digital transformation across organizations and HR will be at the heart of this change – ensuring that the “human factor” and the “Humane factor” continue to exist as companies transform themselves.
What are some of the policy and process changes that your organization has brought about in order to reinvent the workplace after the pandemic?
The wave of digitization and digitalization post lockdown has led to the creation of a Connected World, catering to Connected experiences and a Collaboration/hybrid economy. Be it technology implementation for the workforce, engagement activities, or enabling a workplace for the future, we are leading the transformation journey for our people. We are focussing on the integration of data metrics, where we can use data from all sources and analyze it to come up with decisions that will reduce our manual efforts, drive growth and keep employees satisfied.
Moreover, we have also moved to virtual hiring and onboarding – including virtual campus synergies. There has been a strong focus on skill-building through e-learning platforms and virtual instructor-led sessions globally and we are evaluating options for further digitizing employee engagement processes using chatbots. This will take some time given our initial focus was on GDPR compliance globally.
Further, we have also built a strong communication plan – when working in a hybrid model – communication across different channels and timely interaction is of paramount importance, therefore right from the CEO to colleagues across functions – there are regular, planned interventions and this has resulted in the formation of an engaged workforce as demonstrated in our pulse surveys.
How are some of the ways in which innovation and sustainability will be encouraged at Barco?
Innovation and sustainability is the core DNA of our global strategy. We work collaboratively with our customers to enable the new hybrid workspace, chalk the future roadmap and address the technical challenges involved. There are many innovations practiced by HR in Barco. We are evaluating options for further digitizing the hiring processes and employee engagement processes.
Hiring employees with unique skill sets is an investment in the organization’s future. HR can make the most of this investment by ensuring that once this talent-pool enters the organization, it is retained and developed through appropriate knowledge transfer and a culture of continuous upskilling. Automating repetitive tasks, which don’t need human intervention, will promote efficiency and free up employees’ time for more productive tasks.
The new workplace models require us as a function to reinvent ourselves and our policies for the remote employee.
As economic rebound gathers pace, there is a focus on building a sustainable model with proper tech, like smart video-conferencing tools and leveraging some of our own products in collaboration – like click share conference or we connect and so on. The hybrid model helps in achieving the goal of carbon neutrality as the daily commute is lessened and fewer vehicles mean less pollution.
Additionally, at Barco India we also have a strong focus on CSR initiatives; we have been actively working with our CRS partners – Sakshi Barco School, Cansupport, and Indus Action during this pandemic and helping in building new skills for their teachers/ caregivers. The smiles on the faces of children who cannot attend classes but are touched by our associates calling them over computers/ mobiles – often brighten our days too.
How do you see the role of HR getting transformed and reinvented this year?
Covid has hugely impacted one function across organizations – HR. From throwing all our earlier policies out of gear to ensuring that new policies get adapted, from prioritizing employee health and safety to workplace safety and readiness, mental health and organization culture have become the fulcrum of all our activities now. With a hybrid work environment, HR needs to ensure proper policies are in place for every employee, anywhere.
Reskilling/upskilling and continuous learning needs to be engrained in the work culture.
The new work model is flexible and responsive, built around the ideas of creating more connection, adopting automation, quick response time, and flexible work schedules.
Instead of a plain vertical hierarchy-driven office, flattening the organization with teams that make rapid decisions and treating people as valued capital is important. HR is now working just like a product organization does – go to customers, see their need and deliver solutions accordingly.
How can organizations reinvent learning and skilling this year to crisis-proof their employees?
The professional journey has now changed into a lifelong marathon and only those who keep learning continuously will be successful in reaching their goals. Learning is not only about administering classroom sessions or counting the number of hours learnt but about administering a bite-sized customized learning journey for talent within the company.
The companies are moving from the concept of an integrated LMS – where learning was tracked by courses and hours to LXP – delivering experience and learning to fulfill the skills and needs for potential roles.
HR can help look at new career paths for different teams, revamp performance management, and capability building. There will be an increased focus on career conversations and people have been expressing their interest in considering themselves as SMEs. As the number of gig workers grows and the economy starts accepting more of them, we will see further need for certifications and super specializations. It is therefore important that we focus on making our in-house talent employable and relevant in the future as well and not just trained to perform in a given role today.