Total Rewards Asia Summit 2024 Singapore
Winning Secrets: Dextra Group is creating an inclusive, agile, and adaptable workplace

Winning Secrets: Dextra Group is creating an inclusive, agile, and adaptable workplace

The landscape of HR and people functions is undergoing a profound transformation, affirms Gregory Poupon, CHRO, Dextra Group. 

Established in 1983 by French expatriate entrepreneurs, Dextra Group is now a world-leading manufacturer of engineered steel and fiber-reinforced polymer construction products. During its long history, Dextra Group has encouraged those with an entrepreneurial spirit and constantly strived towards innovation and growth, leading to diversification.

At the third annual edition of HR Excellence Awards - Thailand in 2023, Dextra Group won bronze for 'Excellence in Recovery & Rebound Strategy'.

To celebrate this milestone, we catch up with Gregory Poupon, Chief Human Resource Officer, Dextra Group, on how HR is innovating to support remote and hybrid work models, as well as reshaping policies and communication strategies for a dispersed workforce.  

Q Congratulations on your top performance at the HR Excellence Awards! How has your HR and people strategy contributed to your successes this year?

Dextra's HR and people strategy, in alignment with our business goals and values, has been instrumental in our Group's success. It has ensured optimal talent acquisition, nurtured a positive culture, engaged our workforce, and enhanced adaptability.

As a high-performing company, Dextra Group prioritises its people and employs effective HR practices across key areas, including talent acquisition, compensation & benefits, employee experience, learning & development, HR systems, communication, and compliance. These practices have unlocked our colleagues' potential, driving business growth and reinforcing our commitment to excellence.

Q Looking back at your achievements, what aspect of your HR initiatives are you most proud of and why?

Many organisations take pride in HR initiatives that lead to improved employee satisfaction, enhanced professional development opportunities, successful diversity & inclusion programmes, effective performance management systems, and streamlined communication processes.

There are many aspects of Dextra HR initiatives that we are proud of, and it would depend on our goals and challenges in each situation that our team planned and executed. For instance, when Dextra struggled with remote work due to COVID-19 situation, we successfully implemented remote work policies and technologies that allowed us to still have flawless results even as a manufacturing company.

Similarly, this coming year, we will focus on diversity and inclusion, thus achieving higher representation and a more inclusive culture could be a source of pride. Ultimately, it varies based on what would be priorities for us and we are confident that we can contribute significantly to Dextra's success and growth as a global organisation.

Dextra takes immense pride in its HR initiatives, which have consistently led to elevated employee satisfaction, expanded professional development opportunities, robust global talent acquisition processes, the implementation of efficient performance management systems, and the establishment of streamlined communication processes.

Our achievements in HR are multifaceted and adaptable to the unique goals and challenges of each situation we encounter.

For instance, when confronted with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we swiftly implemented remote work policies and cutting-edge technologies, ensuring seamless productivity even as a manufacturing company.

Q During your HR journey, what were some significant obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them to achieve excellence?

Some common obstacles in HR can include talent shortages, employee retention challenges, adapting to new technologies/new tools/new processes, and ensuring effective communication across the organisation.

There are general strategies that we often employ to overcome HR challenges. For example, addressing talent shortages across global teams involves expanding recruitment efforts remotely, as well as investing in employee development programmes and robust online tools to retain existing talent and to build a career growth of them, leveraging new technology for work, implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, and using various communication channels and employee engagement strategy to keep teams connected.

Overcoming these challenges requires a combination of strategic planning, strong leadership, agile & adaptability, and a commitment to creating a positive work environment.

HR frequently faces common challenges, such as talent shortages, employee retention hurdles, adapting to emerging technologies, and ensuring seamless communication within the organisation. Our approach to overcoming these obstacles involves a multifaceted strategy.

To combat talent shortages on a global scale, we expand our recruitment efforts, harnessing the most efficient tools and best practices in talent acquisition. We invest in robust online tools and employee development programmes to not only retain existing talent but also to cultivate their career growth.

Embracing innovative technology, we revolutionise the way we work. We utilise a range of communication channels and employ employee engagement strategies to foster connectivity among teams. Tackling these challenges necessitates a blend of strategic planning, resolute leadership, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to cultivating a positive work environment.

Q How does your organisation measure the success and impact of your HR initiatives?

Dextra measures the success and impact of HR initiatives through various key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics including:

1. Employee satisfaction and engagement: Surveys, feedback, and metrics related to employee satisfaction and engagement can gauge the effectiveness of HR initiatives in improving the workplace environment.

2. Retention rates for both employees and new joiners (one year): Monitoring how many employees stay with the organisation over time can indicate the success of initiatives related to employee development, benefits, and work-life balance.

3. Recruitment metrics: Tracking metrics like time-to-fill, quality of hires, new joiner and hiring manager survey, can assess the success of recruitment and talent acquisition strategies.

4. Training and development participation: Tracking the number of employees participating in training and development programmes can indicate their perceived value and effectiveness.

5. Management and employee feedback & suggestions: Regularly meeting with the management team and monitoring the volume and nature of employee suggestions and feedback can provide insights into the effectiveness of HR initiatives.

6. Alignment with organisational Goals: Assessing how well HR initiatives contribute to overall organisational goals and objectives is another important measure of success. 

By analysing these metrics and comparing them to baseline data or industry benchmarks, organisations can evaluate the success and impact of their HR initiatives and make informed decisions for continuous improvement.

Q In what direction do you see the HR/people function evolving in the future, considering the emerging trends?

Overall, the future of HR and People functions is likely to be characterised by technology-driven solutions, a focus on employee wellbeing and development, and an emphasis on creating inclusive, agile, and adaptable workplaces.

The landscape of HR and People Functions is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by a wave of emerging trends poised to redefine the future:

- Remote and hybrid work: HR is innovating to support remote and hybrid work models, reshaping policies and communication strategies for a dispersed workforce.

- Data-driven decision making: HR increasingly harnesses data analytics to inform talent acquisition, employee engagement, and performance management decisions.

- Employee wellbeing: Organisations prioritise holistic employee wellbeing, with mental health support, flexible arrangements, and wellness programmes taking center stage.

- Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation: AI-powered tools streamline HR tasks, allowing teams to focus on strategic initiatives.

- Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI): DEI initiatives are now integral, fostering inclusive cultures and eradicating bias from HR processes.

- Continuous learning: Upskilling and reskilling are vital as the workforce adapts to shifting skill demands.

- Agile HR: HR adopts agile methodologies to respond nimbly to organisational needs in dynamic environments.

- Employee experience (EX): Prioritising EX enhances engagement, satisfaction, and retention, fostering positive workplace cultures.

- Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR): These technologies redefine training, onboarding, and immersive learning experiences.

- Gig economy and contingent workforce: HR adapts strategies to manage contingent workers effectively.

- Personalisation: Tailored experiences, benefits, and career paths cater to individual employee preferences.

- Ethical AI and data privacy: As AI and data analytics gain prominence, ethical data use and privacy protection are paramount.

In summary, HR and People functions are evolving toward technology-driven solutions, wellbeing-focused development, and the creation of inclusive, agile, and adaptable workplaces. This transformative journey promises to redefine the future of work. 

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!

Photo / © virtosmedia, 123RF Free Images

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