Chutima Sribumrungsart, Gulf

Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited took home the Gold award for Excellence in Employee Engagement and the Bronze for Excellence in Learning & Development at the inaugural HR Excellence Awards 2021, Thailand.

"First of all, we would like to thank HR Online and all judges for recognising us with the gold award for Excellence in Employee Engagement, bronze award for Excellence in Learning & Development, and as a finalist for Excellence in Innovative Use of HR Tech.

"These recognitions are a truly powerful support to our HR team to continue building greater impact for our organisation and people," Chutima Sribumrungsart, EVP - Human Resources, Gulf Energy Development PCL, shared at the happy occasion.

In this interview, she talks about how at Gulf, the people agenda is always one of the top priorities to ensure a relevant HR strategy that cultivates the right people, right leaders at the right time on the right track to support the company's growth and transformation journey, and create sustainability for the future.

Q What is your organisation’s winning HR strategy, and what are some milestones you’ve accomplished along this journey?

Understand the business roadmap, decode to formulate HR strategies, be agile for adaptation; these are considered part of our winning strategic approach to implementing our HR strategies. Gulf is growing super-fast, it is dynamic, diverse and transforming, with the pride of success and uniqueness of culture.

Shaping the organisation requires strong alignment with business leaders to gain support and buy-in.

Among a few of our proven achievements in the journey of organisational learning & development include the proven positive outcomes of people capability growth, that have shown up in how they perform their role more effectively. We have also received positive feedback on our initiatives from our people, and on the emergance of change from our people leaders in managing & transforming their teams.

On employee engagement, which is a big umbrella to build sustainability for organisation, we have successfully embraced people KPIs that aim to hold people leaders accountable in a holistic way.

As we go through digital transformation, our HR digitisation endeavours have clearly proven successful, hitting all the right milestones in terms of cost/time efficiency and strengthening our employee experiences through digitalisation.

Q How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has the leadership played?

Clear strategic direction has helped our HR team to drive the organisational journey with focus and ensure our priorities are progressing. This has allowed us to invest our HR resources in the right buckets that will serve our expected outcomes and align to business purpose. Further, this has supported getting buy-in from our business leaders as they see the benefit and value on business impact.

The role of leadership has been the most crucial success factor as 'people & organisation' is the business' agenda and not HR’s. The right mindset and partnership support that embraces our strategies and execution really needs the right tone from the top. Management must walk the talk to make it real and live in the workplace. The ownership from top leaders and people managers makes the plan work through their role modelling, encouragement, and communication.

Q Unexpected roadblocks are part and parcel of executing any initiative. What were some of the barriers that you and your team experienced while rolling all of this out, and how did you successfully get past them?

Readiness of people and intervention of business priorities are some of the challenges we have faced through our journey.

Let's be self-critical for a minute. HR initiatives are likely to be considered secondary priorities in real business circumstances. Especially in Gulf, our dynamic business transformation can sometimes become a roadblock to land our HR initiatives. Equally, the readiness of our people in terms of how to engage leaders to buy in and support, as well as how to help our people to manage and balance priorities of both the business and people agenda on a real business day.

Low engagement in initiatives, deferred plans, or even being removed from the roadmap are samples of challenges we have experienced.

As HR, first and foremost, we need to have a mindset that empathises with the business agenda.

It is our role to modify the approach, identify the gaps and opportunities, and step in to support, or roll up our sleeves to execute in fields that shape buy-in and support.

What we have found is that challenges or roadblocks in most cases are not driven by resistance, but our team needs more help from HR to bring them along the plan. Once they realise the positive impact that is relevant to their performance, development, and business outcomes, this gradually clears the way for future initiatives.

Q As evidenced by the win, this initiative clearly delivered some amazing results. \What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

Measuring success is always one of the components in our plan. Our goal in measuring progress and milestones is driven by customer centricity, business productivity, people quality in delivering their business performance, employee experience through our initiatives/products, leaders’ feedback, and more. Employee feedback and satisfaction surveys are also always part of our implementation.

All of these inputs provide impactful resources to help us understand whether our initiatives are right for the business and for our people, and help us continue shaping them to cope up with the dynamic business environment.

Sharing some proud results from our 'Leader as Coach' programme rollout, about 400 people leaders who joined the programme shared their positive feedback, saying it has helped them become a greater coach. Our Mini-MBA programme has enabled our business team participants to uplift their business knowledge and skills to perform their role better.

On the engagement part, despite the COVID situation, we continued to roll out our initiatives through virtual platform and clearly saw the level of participation and appreciation from the team.

Our efforts in 'Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Management' via technology platforms have shown positive progress in managing our people, health, and safety, thus providing us with data and insight for management and HR on furthering this agenda.

Q We’re now seeing HR manage portfolios that were previously considered far from their job description. In your view, what are the top three skills and attributes of today’s successful CHRO?

In my view, the top three skills that drive impact of HR as a function include: business & people partnering, consulting & advisory, and digital literacy.

HR team members are required to shift their mindset from HR centricity toward business centricity and adapt our core HR capabilities to serve business priorities, get self-equipped with business savvy, understand how to connect business context with HR services, and keep self-learning to upskill/reskill.

Our role will definitely shift from functional operations to being a professional consultant & advisory by providing insight, recommendations, and coaching that help people and leaders to perform, transform, and grow through the business journey.

Digital literacy has become one of the core capabilities of new-world HR, enabling us to shape our deliverables by using data/insight for management decisions, redesigning platforms, and updating models of delivery in core HR capabilities by shaping higher productivity and better experiences for all stakeholders.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish every HR professional all the best in your journey to continue to transform our function and become a true partner for our organisation.


Photo / Provided

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