Soraya Candrasari, Pfizer's HR Director believes that a positive culture, comprising happy, healthy and engaged employees is a critical component in increasing employee productivity.

Taking home four silver wins (namely, for Excellence in Workplace Culture, Excellence in Workplace Wellbeing, Excellence in Crisis Management and Recovery, and CEO of the Year - Anil Argilla) at HR Excellence Awards 2020, Indonesia is Pfizer. Soraya Candrasari, HR Director, Pfizer Indonesia shares how the team has pivoted its HR model due to the impact of the pandemic.

Q How would you describe your overall HR strategy, and what are some key milestones you’ve accomplished thus far?

Each and every one in Pfizer strives to achieve our purpose: breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. In particular to HR, we focus on how we can help our people to achieve the above meaningful purpose. Guided by our simple yet powerful values of courage, excellence, equity and joy, we are building positive culture, wellbeing and employee engagement. We believe that a positive culture, comprising happy, healthy and engaged employees is a critical component in increasing employee productivity, which plays an important role in company success.

We feel that we are on the right track on this as we evaluate through various indicators such as our low attrition rate and high engagement score.

What role has your leadership team played in supporting your HR priorities? How does your HR team collaborate closely with senior management to achieve business goals?

Our leadership team has been a big supporter of HR priorities. There’s no way we could have been successful in executing our plans without the buy-in and involvement of the leadership team.

With that understanding, we always involve our leadership team since the beginning. One of the examples is when we set out to build positive company culture, we started with a positive leadership workshop for the leadership team. Along the way, they play their role as an advocate, a catalyst and role model.

On the other side, HR has been partnering with the business leaders to achieve business goals. A simple example of the partnership is on crafting the incentive design to motivate our sales team and boost our sales performance.

The pandemic has caused many business plans to be upended. What was the greatest challenge you faced in 2020 and how did you manage to pivot your HR model/framework?

We were in the middle of our work towards building our company culture and employee engagement when the pandemic hit. Our biggest challenge was the fact that we couldn't do all activities that traditionally we did, such as townhalls, sport class, F2F trainings and many other activities.

Being agile to the situation, we quickly adjusted our approach. One of our favourite initiatives was the 'coffee break'. Coffee break is casual online learning conducted twice a week on various topics, from serious one such as financial planning, public speaking, stress management to fun topics such as make up, photography or gardening. In this session, not only is there interaction between the participants with the speakers but also between employees themselves. This is one initiative we offered to reduce the impact of lower employee direct engagement and interaction because of the pandemic.

What was your game plan for measuring ROI in workplace culture? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

There are various measurements and indicators to measure how effective our efforts in building our workplace culture have been. The pulse survey for all employees is one of the candid indicators on how employees see Pfizer and its culture.

We proudly share that in 2020, 93% of respondents said they are proud to work for Pfizer and 83% of them would recommend Pfizer as a great place to work.

Besides the pulse survey, attrition rate is also a good indicator. Our attrition rate is lower than the industry’s attrition. Another direct feedback is from employees coming to us telling us how they appreciate what the management and HR have done for increasing the positive working culture and environment.

One of HR’s biggest responsibilities in 2020 has been crisis communication and engagement, as a bridge between the management and staff. What are some lessons you’ve learnt in an eventful year of improving communication?

No question that 2020 was a very challenging year. We might have experienced many things, but definitely not this kind of global pandemic. No one prepared for or anticipated this. So both the company and employees learnt along the way. How to make quick decisions and in-time communication is one of the important lessons we’ve learnt. Employees were anxious and overwhelmed with a lot of information and we should be able to be the source they can trust and rely on.

Secondly, we should be able to listen, obtain insight, understand the need of our employees, and take the best efforts to support them. In such a difficult time, it’s also important to have our employees to be part of the #InItTogether movement, to create a sense of belonging and be grateful for what we have, rather than to dwell on our unrealised wishes.

Lastly, we learned about how we should prepare to bounce back after the crisis and how to support our employees to be resilient. Quoting our Country Manager: "The sky is always brighter after a thunderstorm. Let’s be prepared for a brighter future."

Photo / Provided

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