Radha Shreeniwas joined ServiceNow APJ as Sr. Director Global Talent in 2019. In her role, Radha leads the team that provides strategic people practices for all people across the region and business partnership to the APJ Regional leaders. Radha’s team builds organizational capability to enable growth and empower employees to do their best as they make the world of work, work better for people.
ServiceNow is also our Powered By partner for TechHR Singapore 2020, where we will be delving deeply into adaptable tech for re-setting our world of work. As a precursor to TechHR Singapore 2020, in an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Radha shares how organizations need to rework the people strategy to support the workforce through the recovery phase of the COVID-19 crisis.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview-
2020 has been a tough year. How do you think it will impact the way employee experience and people strategy needs to evolve?
Employee experience changed dramatically overnight when companies had to send pretty much everyone to work from home. One of the really interesting things that happened was we invited our colleagues into our homes in an unprecedented way. For many, working from home has enabled people to share a much more authentic view into their world. That has changed the fundamental nature of interaction and how employees and employers engage with each other.
Technology has made it possible for employees to stay connected, engaged, and maintain productivity across the office. It has also become clear that in the new normal, the office is a very fluid destination, with a completely new rhythm. Employees have greater choice when they turn on and off, better tailored to their personal circumstances than ever before. We are also entering an era where business functions need to work much more closely with each other. Hence, accessibility becomes key because employees need to self-serve. So yesterday’s legacy technologies and manual processes perhaps don’t quite play out in the same way.
The partnership between departments needs to be much tighter, more seamless, and more fine-tuned to providing employees with a deeper level of care across a distributed workforce.
All of this has to be built in the employee strategy going forward and companies need to think about these core elements of care. How do you attract, onboard, develop, and support employees in their career journeys? And it needs to be a much more personalized, nuanced approach than perhaps what we have had in the past.
What are some of the trends around employee experience in Singapore and SE Asia this year?
We all know Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world and is becoming a major hub of manufacturing, tech, and finance. It has also become a tremendous hub for startup activity and as a result, there’s fierce competition for talent.
Employers and leaders will have to rework the employee experience to manage complex workflows to keep employees healthy and cared for. Regulation looks very across the region because governments are asserting locally specific strategies to keep their citizenry safe. Every process has to be tested during the pandemic; leaders are looking to digital workflows, intelligent technologies so that they can future-proof steps from recruiting to onboarding.
What’s interesting is every country has a slightly different place where their workforce is. For instance, Indonesia has a great opportunity ahead with its emerging digitally native Gen-Z; Singapore will have to relook at how to re-train its older workforce and adapt. Hence CHROs have to lead this transformation with digitalization and personalization to work better for everyone.
What are some of the things organizations should keep in mind while reimagining their people strategy in order to remain agile?
Before COVID-19 hit us, work from home was beginning to trend upwards. Companies were having a conversation about it and debating how to make this happen. The pandemic just accelerated the shift towards remote work and really amplified the challenges about reinventing the way we were.
When we think of all aspects of an employee life cycle, every process needs to be really rethought with keeping the digital experience in mind that scales and provides employees care to help meet wherever they are at. So you may have employees who choose they never want to come back to the workplace but you don’t want to lose that great talent. You might have talent who would prefer working from office for only a couple of days-so employers will need to think about all of that.
Similarly, all aspects of employee experience really need to be surveyed and assessed in an ongoing manner so that they can be adjusted as the workforce adjusts to the new normal. The dialogue now is shifting from this crisis management approach to how do we prioritize employee well-being and how do we manage these different ways of work in the long term. The next normal is about orchestrating this transition from work from home to working from anywhere.
How does the employee experience in agile organizations looks like?
Working together, giving people the choice is the right way to go forward. Employee experience vectors now on care, making sure employees feel their authentic selves are welcome into the workplace and making sure they don’t feel discriminated as they are exposing a huge part of their lives they never had to ever before. So if I am a working mother, I don’t want my work to be viewed very differently from a working dad or someone who is single. Employee experience should be able to manage the beautiful complexity of diversity and give a seamless experience to all employees.
When you look at the digital workflows across the organization, it will help you manage the agility in the office. Be it onboarding or seeking knowledge, it is about employees being able to find us and help meet their needs in the right environment so that they can bring their 100% to work during these crazy times.
What are you most looking forward to at TechHR Singapore 2020?
I am super excited to see all the interesting tech solutions that will be brought to the table. I am curious to know what my peers are thinking about employee experience and how they are wrestling with the new normal and how companies are thinking about their workforce and branding themselves during this time.