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Shelly Rajpal, Head of Human Resources, HP Inc, dives into the ways that HR teams can facilitate a growth mindset by investing in online social learning, eliminating traditional executive job titles, and reinventing performance management.
Q What are the typical manpower challenges faced in your sector?
The new labour market taking shape in the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution holds both challenges and opportunities. For industries the competition for scarce skilled talent is becoming more intense and will continue in the near future.
Singapore is one of the countries where five generations will be working together in the same office by 2020. This means a more diverse and mobile workforce with increasing differentiation of needs for flexibility and adaptability in the workplace. In order to address this challenge, HP launched its Intentional People Strategy, which is based on the idea that when people thrive, so does our business.
As the pace of innovation continues to accelerate and constant disruption is the norm, we are observing a transformation of industries from top to bottom. When HP looks to the future, these powerful megatrends drive our strategic priorities and long-term investments. They influence everything from our research and development agenda to our workforce and IT infrastructure planning.
Q What unique initiatives are you and your team undertaking to address these?
Organisations must be able to identify the types of jobs of the future and prepare the workforce today. HR has a critical role in ensuring employees can quickly adapt and consistently perform. HP does this by rooting our culture in a growth mindset where employees are encouraged to take risks, ask for and give authentic feedback, while continuously working to improve their performance and that of the business.
A growth mindset focuses on progress over time. It’s where managers ask about the learning as well as results. It’s about rewarding behaviour and not traits and praising the process, not the person. Finally, it’s about using the word ‘yet’.
To facilitate this shift, we invested in learning and development, including a new online social learning program called Brain Candy; eliminated traditional executive job titles; and reinvented performance management.
We instilled a high-feedback environment to foster continuous growth and development. We also had to ensure that our underlying people strategies for talent acquisition, performance & learning, and rewards & recognition were aligned to a growth mindset.
We reinvented many of our programmes to attract and engage diverse talent, accelerate career development and advancement, and reward and recognise employees in meaningful and personalised ways.
This change in mindset has played a critical role in the company’s success. HP today is leading the digital industrial revolution through VR and 3D printing, and is becoming an employer of choice for top, diverse talent.
Q What is one skill HR leaders need to possess in order to remain relevant in the future of HR?
In the “new world of work”, it is important that the HR function is able to embrace technology and analytics.
Q What is the most memorable HR initiative you’ve been involved in, and tell us about it?
We recently rolled out HR’s people strategy to all HP employees through email, a video series, and our internal news portal.
The launch was the culmination of a comprehensive, thoughtful, inclusive series of workshops during which we invited everyone in HR to consider: What would HP need to do to be the company where people most want to work in five, 10, or 15 years? How do we build a team with the skills to invent tomorrow’s technology? How can HP’s people practices create a positive employee experience that leads to exceptional performance and results?
A cross-functional HR team collected and analysed insights from employees, managers, business leaders, other companies, and the megatrends work from HP Labs to identify what it will take to build the workforce of the future. The result was the HR Strategy. It defines HP’s beliefs and approaches to attracting and hiring employees, career development, culture, diversity, rewards, and recognition.
I was selected to lead one of the workstreams on a global scale, including the design of a comprehensive implementation plan.
Q In your experience, what happens to the companies who can’t or won’t go digital in today’s world?
Losing relevance. It’s absolutely critical for companies to move away from their affiliation of using traditional/tested methods. Reinvention is required to find newer ways of creating a sustainable, diverse business for the long-term.
Q Finally, what makes HR stand out from other careers?
HR has a critical role to play in unlocking the energy of the organisation. HR supports and enables the execution of strategy through building organisational capability. It comes from an intimate knowledge of a business’s strategy and the existing capabilities of the organisation.
The great advantage that HR has in this area is that, ultimately, all strategy is executed by people – people who need to be supported, trained, and equipped to fulfill the strategic vision.
Vital stats: In 2011, Shelly Rajpal joined HP and advanced to Head of HR for Singapore, leading people strategy and operations for its APAC headquarters. In this role, she is focused on driving innovation in HP’s workforce development, new talent and recognition programmes to drive employee performance as well as anchoring diversity and inclusion in every part of HP’s operations.
Her career has always been grounded in HR: leading B2B and consumer organisations across sectors, including IBM, TATA group, Satyam, Wipro and HP, in Australia, India and Singapore. With over 17 years of experience, she has built high-performing teams capable of delivering best-in-class operational performance and transformation at a rapid pace.
This interview is a continuation of our CHRO 4.0 special edition where we we introduce you to Human Resources’ Advisory Panel 2019, and pick their brains on the burning questions the function is facing.
Read more here: CHRO 4.0: Decoding the HR skills of the future