Catherine Chia, SVP & Head, Human Resources, leads the overall human resource strategy, programs, and services, to accelerate the growth and performance of StarHub. Catherine has extensive human resource experience in organizations spanning multiple industries and geographies, such as Dell, GE and United Overseas Bank. In her previous roles, Catherine has implemented organizational change and transformation initiatives as well as developed leadership capabilities through robust talent management programs.
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Catherine, who will be speaking at People Matters TechHR Singapore 2020 on humanizing and digitizing, shares key trends on what organizations need to keep in mind while undertaking their digital transformation journeys.
Meet Catherine Chia at People Matters TechHR Singapore 2020 on 20th February 2020 at Marina Bay Sands.
How do you instil a digital transformation mindset in your organization?
While driving digital transformation or any sort of organizational transformation, the focus has to be on two things. First, the focus should always be on the customer. And by customer, I mean both internal and external customer. So digital transformation needs to keep the focus on both the customer as well as the employee. And when we do it well for them, the right business outcome follows.
The second focus while undertaking digital transformation should be on what problem are we trying to solve. Without this focus, we run the risk of digitalizing without fully understanding what problem we are trying to solve. So the focus always needs to be on the user experience and the clarity around the problem statement. So before instilling a digital mindset, we need to instil a customer and user mindset first. One needs to remember that a digital mindset is not all about coding or automation, but about working in an agile manner, working in a way that looks at processes experiences in an end-to-end fashion, where hierarchy is a thing of the past and collaboration, experimentation, design thinking, experimentation is the norm.
What role does culture play in shaping the journey of digital transformation of any organization?
“Transformation is 500% all about the organizational culture.”
To put it simply, culture at the simplest level is all about how do we problem solve, how we relate to each other, how we treat people and how do we treat the customers, and what the north star is for any organization. Culture is the guiding star. And at StarHub, the guiding star is customer experience and employee experience. Because we believe when you focus on the employee/customer and fully understand what he needs, the solutioning in the digital journey will give us the outcome that will accelerate the right program, the right program and the right profit. Culture, strategy, and digital transformation need to be extremely integrated.
How can leaders accelerate digital transformation in their respective organizations so that it becomes a seamless journey from top to down?
“A leader has to live and breathe a digital transformation mindset every day.”
He/she needs to assure that at the core of everything the organization does, has to be around the customer and the employee. Be it the way we make decisions, the way we design products, the way we enter the market, the way we design our employee experience and growth, that’s how leaders should make decisions every day. No employee experience revolution or digital transformation can happen unless leaders play this role.
What strategies can organizations adopt to digitize yet humanize at the same time?
It is absolutely necessary to digitize and humanize at the same time. We cannot think of digitalization in complete isolation. I see it as a way to enable and enrich the human experience. It helps humans to spend time more efficiently and enhances the entire human experience. So it’s not one or the other, it’s a mutual combination of both to enhance the human experience.
What is your key piece of advice to fellow HR and business leaders who are about to undertake their digital transformation journeys?
What I would like to share is my learnings from my experience. First do not digitalize for the sake of digitalization or because the world says that it is the way to go and then try to hop on to the automation bandwagon, thinking that systems and automation will solve the problem. But they do not solve the problem by themselves, they are an enabler. Hence leaders need to be clear why they are undertaking digitalization, what value will it add, and what problem will it solve.
Remember digitalization is not the answer, it’s the enabler.
What are some of the key trends in HR that will dominate in Singapore in 2020?
I believe 2020 in Singapore will be about employee experience and rethinking talent experience. The other key trend would be the shape of the workforce-moving away from the traditional, hierarchical full-time workforce to one that is agile, cross-functional, flat, non-hierarchical, and a combination of full-time employees, with both human-machine co-existence and an increased share of the gig workforce. So the evolution of the workforce, machine-human co-existence and gig workforce are areas which senior HR leaders will focus on, in order to really impact the organization.
Join us in Singapore for People Matters TechHR 2020, Asia’s Largest HR & WorkTech Conference on 19-21 February 2020. Click here to register.