Top management support is crucial. And so is getting buy in from various stakeholders and gathering feedback from the ground; these help to accelerate the roll out of HR activities, says Irene Goh, Head of Regional Strategic HR, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia.

With a silver win for Excellence in Leadership Development at HR Excellence Awards 2020, Singapore, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia’s Head of Regional Strategic HR Irene Goh shares with Priya Veeriah how its proactive approach coupled with strong senior leadership support has accelerated the HR transformation journey.

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

We started this HR transformation journey since 2017 to optimise our human resources and organisation to accelerate our business transformation. This includes revamping our HR system to achieve operational excellence, strengthen our organisation capability, set up performance-based culture and build an engaging workforce.

We set a mid-term plan on HR goal & direction, and cast light on the HR strategies we wish to achieve for the next three years. We also wanted to further break-down HR activities into a six months' pipeline and continuously update on the progress to our management. These were important steps for us.

We reflect every six months to see what works and what’s not working, and what we need to modify along the way. The HR transformation journey is tough, but we are proud to achieve it this far.

Transforming our people’s mindset on the way we work and in cultivating a growth mindset in our DNA, consistent with being a digital culture ready for future work, is a continuous journey. Culture change, care and communication to drive engagement and loyalty, reskilling and retooling are our current focus in this pandemic.

How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has the leadership played in helping make this initiative a reality?

Top management support is crucial. And so is getting buy in from various stakeholders and gathering feedback from the ground; these help to accelerate the roll out of the HR activities.

Our leader’s believe that people make a difference. Their strong support in leading by example to our people has accelerated our HR transformation journey to realise our HR goals and materialise our HR activities.

We have to keep ourselves updated on the HR trends and business changes. We continue to adapt and proactively move faster than others in this constantly changing environment to take advantage of opportunities.

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

People are in their comfort zone, the transition path to make changes is not an easy and smooth one. Before we start on this transformation journey, understanding of the staff’s demography & the diverse teams, we plan out kind of HR initiatives and programs for different generation of staff. Different generation of employees have different needs at different stages of life, we need to be flexible in our implementation.

Transformation for change is painful. Facing resistance is normal but our strong determination and perseverance for change management activities for the good of the company has overcome the challenges that we faced. We have to manage on maximising the limited resources, adjust our HR priorities, continuously communicate to stakeholders to reduce the gap, get buy in, engage the people, shout out small wins and fine tune along the way to meet changing needs are important steps for our HR transformation journey.

As evidenced by the win, this initiative clearly delivered some amazing results. What was your gameplan for measuring ROI? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

We always believe that if Employees who are engaged at work, they will be dedicated to the success of the organisation with a growth mindset. When their contributions are recognised, they will continuously learn, strive and grow with the company in response to the evolving environment. It is very satisfying to see the change behaviour of our people who act as being the catalyst/ change agent, accept changes implemented in our HR transformation activities.

We may not be able to quantify the ROI but we are in the right direction on our business transformation. We are still trying to shift the mindset of our people when the business is undergoing tremendous transformation and get our people onboard on the changes to move along with the company. The progressive change of people’s behavioural at work which resulted in more productive work, more effective process and more collaboration effort and more willing to change for the better in the team are satisfying. These are important steps to move our organisation forward for our business transformation.

What are the biggest business drivers or game changers that have pushed you to constantly come up with new ideas and raise the bar for leadership development?

Are we ready for future of work? Other than embarking on digital transformation journey, what kind of leadership is needed in the future? The assignment landscape is changing, how to bring jobs to the people instead of relocating them physically for work in other countries. Also how do we bring engaging leadership programs, virtually instead of having face to face development programs. We have to prioritise as survival to business is still the key and how HR add value and move together to achieve the business goal.

Being a HR enabler and driver of change, we have to ensure our people’s skills are ready for future of work. When our human capital resources are adaptive, agile, engaged and possess a growth mindset, then we can move faster as a whole organisation.

This will give us an edge over our competitors, and will also enable us to gather customer insights and respond more efficiently to their needs. Staying proactive to act before others is important in order to remain ahead of the VUCA environment.

Rethink what’s possible, stay agile and keep on trying to adapt to the changing environment fast, and we believe we can make a breakthrough difference in Konica Minolta.

Photo / Provided

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