In this CHRO 4.0 series, we take you on a journey across Asia, and today we stopover at India. Priyanka Anand, Ericsson’s VP and Head of Human Resources for SEA, Oceania and India, who affirms why being open to change and being innovative in terms of how we work is the key to surviving the pandemic.

Q How is employees' concept of 'experience' evolving in this new world we’re living in? What are some areas HR leaders need to look out for?

We are seeing a change in the definition of experience and the way it is being defined. Employees are increasingly focused on culture, comfort, and learning that organisations can provide them. Organisations themselves are redrawing their compensation and award concepts around this new definition of experience.

While opting for placements, people are taking joining decisions not based on size of organisation or compensation offered, but stability, culture and how much the role will meet aspirations.

HR leaders need to design more lively recruitment experiences and onboarding processes as the key to connecting with new employees.

Right representation of the organisational culture needs to be managed through all stages of the hiring process and the leadership interactions with prospective employees.

Furthermore, organisations accommodating work from home and being sensitive to personal situations during the COVID crisis will benefit in the long term from greater employee connect during this time.

Q Will the remote workplace replace the physical one? How should organisations pivot and what are the implications of this shift to hybrid working?

Yes, a lot of organisations are reflecting on imbibing virtual working in some ways or making it a significant part of their workforce management. Real estate and facilities don’t need to reduce in size or scope but could be redesigned to evolve with the new reality. Technology and additional services portfolio can be the answer to the same.

Employee mobility will be redefined and therefore organisations will have to be flexible to have the best of talent. These changes will possibly have positive long-term effects on diversity participation, especially women on breaks or restarting their careers. Work locations in job descriptions might vanish for most roles in services.

With the shift towards a work-from-home culture, organisations need to evolve policies to accommodate gig workers as well.

Q What is your take on the most-needed and least-needed skills currently? What would you list as jobs that will thrive, and jobs that will disappear post the pandemic?

It would not be fair to mark some skills as less needed. I would say it really depends on where the organisation is in its journey and change management.

Both being open to change and being innovative in terms of how we work is the key to surviving the pandemic. While following processes is vital to becoming efficient, being overly protective of processes should be avoided. Jobs and people who can adopt to new age communication and virtual working will thrive in the coming times.

The technology space will continue to evolve, and collaborative working models are the need of the hour. Leaders will need to come up with the same to safeguard jobs as well as productivity goals. Automation and machine learning will get a further push because of the current situation.

Q Whether working from home or office, what are the most useful things that you can't manage your day without? Share your time management tips!

My management tips would be - Spend quality time on work and adhere to official work times, otherwise fatigue will take over. Work never ends and it should not as well, but learn to close for the day!

Try to connect with colleagues and stakeholders on short calls (both audio and video) as a convenient way to stay connected and keep the relationship keep warm. Light talks can also solve a lot of issues in one go than trying to block a 30-minute calendar for one topic.

While working from home, be very careful about your laptops and other electronic accessories, while placing them and securing their safety. Also maintain them by regularly shutting them off and consulting IT on even minor glitches that you observe. This surely would avoid bigger issues in the future and in times of limited mobility it will help in avoiding undesired wait time for maintenance or replacement challenges.


Photo / Provided

Excerpts of this interview have been published exclusively in the Jul-Aug 2020 issue of Human Resources. Read this edition of Human Resources, Singapore:

hrsg jul aug20