Dr. Agapol Na Songkhla, Executive VP and CPO, Thai Beverage, on the mission of limitless opportunities for the workforce to unlock careers, connectivity, and contribution.
Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (ThaiBev, and together with its subsidiaries, the Group) is a leading beverage company in Southeast Asia and the largest in Thailand. The Group's vision is to be a world-class total beverage company. Its business consists of four segments – spirits, beer, non-alcoholic beverages, and food.
At the third annual edition of HR Excellence Awards - Thailand in 2023, Thai Beverage PLC won several awards, namely, gold for 'Excellence in In-House Talent Pipeline Strategy', silver for 'Excellence in Employee Volunteerism', and silver for 'Excellence in HR Innovation'.
To celebrate this milestone, we catch up with Dr. Agapol Na Songkhla, Executive Vice President, and Chief People Officer, Thai Beverage PLC (pictured below), on how the company's mission of limitless opportunities enables the workforce to unlock careers, connectivity, and contribution.
Q Congratulations on your top performance at the HR Excellence Awards! How has your HR and people strategy contributed to your success this year?
ThaiBev Group has embraced our ultimate mission of “creating and sharing the value of growth”, with our people by translating it into our human capital philosophy of “limitless opportunities”. Such opportunities encapsulate three aspects, namely career, connectivity, and contribution.
Firstly, ‘career’, is encouraging people to improve their knowledge, skills, and capabilities. Secondly, ‘connectivity’ is empowering people to build networks and bond among fellow employees. Lastly, ‘contribution’ is a chance to make a difference to the society through social responsibility programmes. The mentioned philosophy truly reflects our ongoing efforts have been and will always continue to be empowering our people to create and share the value of growth beyond the organisation into an extensive network of our stakeholders.
Q Looking back at your achievements, what aspect of your HR initiatives are you most proud of and why?
In-house talent pipeline strategic initiatives are considered as one of ThaiBev Group’s business priorities. With a strong ambition to “create and share the value of growth”, we truly believe in the potential of our people.
Undeniably, it’s been a huge challenge in the labour market in attracting, grooming, and retaining people. However, thanks to strong support from our top management, resilient efforts, and solid people management foundations, we’ve made great progress in promoting internal talent pipelines.
We are still on this journey. We will need to keep on developing our people through a coaching and mentoring culture, since this is a stepping stone in sustainable development and people engagement.
Q During your HR journey, what were some significant obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them to achieve excellence?
ThaiBev’s key HR challenges can be classified into two main dimensions, namely external and internal dimensions. Externally, the most persistent challenge is the speed of change, since it outpaces our abilities to attract and develop people. Additionally, business operating models in the global landscape keep changing.
As for the internal dimension, being a large organisation means high diversity among our people. Moreover, HR is greatly demanded to support business directions. In order to sustainably overcome such challenges, the HR team has built a human capital management and development ecosystem, consisting of HR infrastructure, process, policy, and stakeholders. To effectively strengthen the ecosystem in the long run, we continuously equip our line managers and employees with a growth mindset and necessary skillsets to ensure their exceptional performance in current and future roles.
Q How does your organisation measure the success and impact of your HR initiatives?
To effectively measure milestones of our HR initiatives, we take into account the following three people-related metrics.
- Firstly, impact to the business in the aspect of leadership pipeline fulfillment and people capability is constantly tracked. This to ensure that our actions directly contribute to business requirements.
- Secondly, impact to our people is monitored on an ongoing basis through employee engagement as well as our internal HR’s customer satisfactions.
- Lastly, operational excellence is measured through project KPIs and plans.
Going forward, we need to ensure the readiness of our workforce for future business challenges and priorities, especially essential organisation capabilities and people’s readiness to tackle new challenges.
Q In what direction do you see the HR/people function evolving in the future, considering the emerging trends?
With the ongoing speed of change, organisations require people agility. The HR team needs to focus on how to facilitate our people to collaborate on business projects and deliver exceptional performance. Consequently, we need to reorganise ourselves in developing, empowering, recognising, and rewarding our people.
Furthermore, our focus on sustainability will also shape the way we conduct our business across aspects of environment, social, and governance. Hence, we will need to support our people to develop the right mindset and enable the organisation to consistently promote sustainability, while staying competitive in the market.
Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!
Photo / Provided