Agustina Samara, DANA's Chief People and Corporate Strategy Officer, says that HR leaders need to be data literate in making decisions, as this can help predict future trends and behaviour, as well as identify new avenues for business improvement.

Q How has your learning strategy today evolved from what you’d planned out last year?

The pandemic has shifted our priority in terms of learning strategy and people development. We have been trying to come up with ideas to focus the learning strategy not only on the quality of the knowledge, but also on the effectiveness of the process during this hard period. Promoting a deeper learning culture in DANA, especially for independent learning and beyond the classroom, has been encouraged.

The learning process can occur through independent learning such as having a reward mechanism for staff with the highest learning hours, encouraging them to join more online trainings or webinars, and converting monetary rewards into learning rewards.

Learning beyond the classroom is another way our staff can learn, not only by joining many trainings or webinars, but through the direct practice of BicaraDANA (DANA's public speaking engagement programme), internal talent mobility, and becoming the lead in battle projects.

Q What are the hottest, function-agnostic skills in your industry today – skills that will never fail you?

Interesting term, 'function-agnostic skills'. The need to be more empathetic yet result-driven has been strong in this new normal. Talent that has the combination of people focus and driving results is the one that should be able to consistently perform. While the pandemic is tearing us apart, those points could be part of the solution to keep good collaboration between members, care for the team's wellbeing, help each other to rise up and be motivated, and reach beyond their perceived potential even in these tough times.

Q How are you building these skills in your workforce? Essentially, how do you help employees accelerate their learning (especially when it comes to soft skills)?

Same as other strategies for skills upgrade.

  1. First, we need to raise awareness, provide the context, issues, and impact of the issues.
  2. Second, strengthen the organisation by laying out the expected behaviours and providing suggested action items and programmes that stimulate these behaviours.
  3. Third, provide rewards for champions. The secret sauce will be engagement - engage the staff and get them involved in the decision-making process.
  4. Fourth, develop the programmes and campaigns that help to share the ownership with everyone, including management and HR.

Q What are the top three critical skills for HR to have in and beyond 2021?

For HR in 2021 and beyond, the challenge would be to rethink the HR role in a new-norm environment, with the aim of performing personalised as well as seamless HR operations.

The key capabilities of HR in 2021 and beyond would be:

  1. Data driven and data literate, by looking at insights from data and analytics for making decisions. This could predict future trends and behaviour, and identify new avenues for business improvement.
  2. Good business acumen, the ability to corelate the business and people strategy to achieve mutual benefit and make people the heart of business growth.
  3. Use of technology and a digital mindset for the automation of HR processes. People in this era should be able to incorporate technology into their daily roles. In today’s business environment, technological infrastructure could affect the efficiency of a business as it is designed for operational tasks to be automated and secured. People should be capable of utilising technology to optimise management and operations.

Q Lastly, if there was a magic wand and you could do anything within your power to build a future-fit workforce, what action would you take?

A magic wand is something that fixes things quickly and instantly. I don’t believe in that. It is better for people to change, along with the environment, in order for this process of change to be cherished. A person must experience the change for themselves to truly feel part of it. This gives them the power to control and choose how they experience the change.

On the other hand, if I really have to choose, a magic wand would be a fun way to make for an enjoyable work atmosphere.


Photo / Provided by DANA Indonesia [Pictured: Chief People and Corporate Strategy Officer at DANA Indonesia]

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