Article: HR is the custodian of business change, says Quest Global’s Sonia Kutty

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HR is the custodian of business change, says Quest Global’s Sonia Kutty

In the next edition of HR Evolution Perspectives 2023: Experts Take, we talk to Sonia Kutty, Vice President - Global Human Resources at Quest Global.
HR is the custodian of business change, says Quest Global’s Sonia Kutty

The HR Evolution Perspectives 2023: Empower and Evolve study is a first-of-its-kind look at the largest people, HR and transformation trends in the APAC region. Based on responses from more than 1,200 HR practitioners, 350 CXOs and nearly 1,500 employees, the study unravels vital HR, business and people trends that will shape the future. To further our understanding, we are also talking to top people leaders in the APAC region to discuss how people trends impact business operations, cultural reorganisation and HR processes. We also get their perspective on the strategies they will implement to drive their business forward in a year set to witness growth and innovation.

This article is a part of the HR Evolution Perspectives 2023: Experts Take series, and for the current edition, we spoke to Sonia Kutty, Vice President - Global Human Resources at Quest Global. Sonia discusses the following critical HR transformation trends:

  • The role of HR in driving people, organisational and business transformations
  • How to enable business success and change through careful people management
  • The use of technology and data in making HR transformations more effective

HR: The custodian of business change

“Businesses have been grappling with a more complex and expensive talent landscape ever since the onset of the pandemic, and there’s been a realisation that as business models change, expectations from both sides need tempering”, Sonia says. In this context, HR’s role is to fuel the passion of their top talent by engaging them and providing new avenues of learning while simultaneously enhancing talent proficiency to meet business goals.

With skill premiums increasing, the right organisational capability of younger leaders and empowered managers will be critical in this transition. “This is not just a workforce or policy change, but a business-wise evolution that embraces the complexities of a diverse workforce and taps the potential of young professionals by making the top leadership more accessible, building trust and giving people the confidence to experiment”, she further explains. We often discount the drive, innovation and knowledge that younger professionals bring to the table, and being more flexible in developing this part of the workforce can reap rich dividends for future leadership pipeline building.

Enabling business success and transformation

“It’s important to understand that the people’s agenda is not just HR’s responsibility, but a wider business agenda that requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. At the end of the day, every organisational transformation is a people or behaviour-driven change, and it must involve all aspects tied to the workforce, like the culture, leadership and values.” A practical approach, she suggests, is to associate the change story with your organisational purpose and values. “By marrying the business need for transformation with organisational agility, HR can become change leaders in implementing impactful transformations that benefit businesses and employees.”

Transformation for the sake of the transformation or simply joining the latest industry is usually futile. “At Quest Global, HR has always worked with business functions to ensure that people fully understand the philosophy behind the transformation.” If HR can have clear answers at this stage, it can make the leadership and workforce buy-in easier, and everyone can commit to supporting the change underway.

“Our values that focus on culture, aspiration, hunger, humility, integrity, collaboration and customer-centricity have permeated across functions. One of the most common feedback we receive from internal and external stakeholders is that our culture is starkly evident and almost palpable.” And for good reason, as the Chief Culture Office at Quest Global ensures that every process and task in the organisation is embedded with our organisational values, she explains.

Using data to meaningfully enhance and implement change

Technology should ideally be used to identify and remove the biggest roadblocks of the change process. “With a globally distributed workforce, Quest Global has always been driven to adopt new technologies that add critical value to our processes. These adoption techniques go hand-in-hand with culture, and the biggest learning in our experience has been to spend that extra time and effort during the planning stage.”

This also makes it imperative to collaborate with a partner or vendor aligned with your goals and values. “A tech partner who knows how to create linkages across different touchpoints and is aware of your system’s strengths and limitations will be a valuable addition to the transformation process.” The emergence of new data trails, journeys and actions can be linked inextricably with the company culture and enhance employee experience.

While technology can provide meaningful support in improving different people functions, HR must discover its power to drive the transformation that businesses expect. She sums up by stating, “With changing employee expectations and evolving business concerns, the demand and responsibility for business change will be increasingly driven by HR.  How HR leaders account for organisational agility, user experience, diversity and tech consolidation in this process will largely drive business innovation and transformation.”

Download the full HR Evolution Perspectives 2023: Empower and Evolve report here.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #Empower And Evolve

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