Sharina Zainordin, Human Resources Manager, SK Networks Retails Malaysia, believes the key factor for a successful organisation is communication, and it is crucial for HR to ensure information reaches each employee in a timely manner. In this next part of our CHR0 4.0 series, she tells Aditi Sharma Kalra how HR should adapt the organisation's mindset to the new normal of work culture, navigating employees through an increasingly digital future, and more.

Q Being adaptable is no longer a good-to-have, but rather a can’t-do-without skill. As the HR leader, how are you keeping yourself adaptable?

As this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic hit all of us globally, we had to think and act fast to adapt to the new normal of work culture. HR has become key to supporting the organisation and catalysing changes in the workplace. Thus, HR leaders are taking unprecedented measures to keep their employees safe and to ensure that their organisations survive.

I believe other HR leaders will agree with me that HR departments had a difficult job leading up to the pandemic as HR is the main referral channel for employees. Even though this is the first time we have faced a pandemic situation, we were expected to provide quick solutions and be answerable to employees on our decisions.

Not only to the employees, but the HR leader is the key person who provides recommendations to the management on how to run the business during this tough time and be adaptable to the situation.

For instance, previously, flexible working hours and remote work policies seemed impractical in many organisations, but today they are adaptable to most companies.

Thus, for me, as an HR leader, I keep myself adaptable, starting with a mindset shift from impossible to possible. This must start with HR: it goes across to the department leaders, and eventually to all employees.

Q What are some of the things on your job description that are brand new and fresh?

During this pandemic, more responsibilities were put on HR leaders’ shoulders to carry. The brand-new additions to the job description of an HR leader are:

  • To lead the Emergency Response Team.
  • To strategise remote working organisation.
  • To advise on employees’ health and safety.
  • To handle employees’ worries and grievances and give full support to them.
  • To provide the best protection and tools for employees. • To focus on timely communication and collaboration with employees at every level.
  • To keep up-to-date on all new announcements from the Government and make a wise decision on how to adapt these for the workforce.
  • To prioritise the needs of the business.
  • To reshape the organisation to ensure best ways of working and the balance of job security.

Q How has the HR function in your organisation helped to navigate an increasingly digital future?

I believe the key factor for a successful organisation is communication and it is crucial for HR to ensure information reaches each employee in a timely manner.

HR started to share important announcements and events through our online portal, accessible via a computer and mobile phone. We also encouraged other departments to utilise the medium to relay first-hand information to employees.

During the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, while working from home was new to most businesses, HR initiated weekly online meetings with department leaders to ensure all of us stayed aligned, shared our thoughts in order to make quick decisions on day-to-day issues, and supported each other throughout this tough period. We also embarked on virtual onboarding for new hires.

HR understands how working from home can be inconvenient for some. Thus, we tried to inject some fun into it by launching a photo contest inviting employees to show their interesting and creative photos taken during their work-from-home episodes during the MCO period. We selected the best three photos to be shared with other colleagues, and gave away home appliances as prizes.


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

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