Vaclav Koranda is the Vice-President of Human Resources and a member of the board of directors at T-Systems Malaysia. He has held several executive roles in human resources, namely in the ICT industry. For a significant part of his career, his roles have included regional responsibility, mainly for the region of Central/Eastern Europe. Before joining T-Systems Malaysia, he was the VP of HR at T-Systems Czech Republic. He also served as a member of the Sector Council for IT and telecommunications in the Czech Republic.
Koranda is a member of the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management as well as the Organization Development Network Malaysia.
Here are the edited excerpts.
COVID-19 has become a trigger to accelerate transformation for business globally. How do you see the current business landscape amid all this chaos triggered by the pandemic? What have you learned from your customers?
COVID-19 has become a business killer, rather than a trigger. For some businesses whose nature allows it, it has definitely accelerated certain trends like digitalization and virtual working. However, many businesses had to limit or even cease their operations as a result of government restrictions and fear spread among citizens. Especially tourism, hospitality industry have been hit the hardest. Consequently, oil prices have plunged because of low demand. This has made some of the poor countries even poorer. We will need several years to recover from this crisis.
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How has the HR tech landscape changed over the last few months? What trends have you observed around HR tech adoption in HR amid this COVID-19 crisis? Has the adoption has seen a spike or it slowed down?
There has been increased demand for electronic document management including electronic signature. Such technologies have been around for years however they have never been largely adopted in HR mainly because of rigid legal frameworks and practices in many countries. Maybe the current situation can be a catalyst in this sense. Other than that, there has been an increased need for tools enabling all sorts of virtual working – virtual hiring, virtual onboarding, and also virtual off-boarding.
Are organizations actually leveraging next-gen technologies such as blockchain for HR function? How digitized is your HR function?
I can’t see the large adoption of technologies like AI and blockchain in HR. There have been some attempts to develop HR tools based on those technologies but we are still in the initial stage. I think there is still a vast unutilized potential that lies in those technologies when it comes to their implementation in HR.
In the current situation, do you think it makes sense to digitize HR completely?
Definitely, we have to review our HR policies and processes and adjust it to the situation we are in. I don’t think that we must necessarily digitize the whole of HR. In the end, HR is about people, and people are human, not digital. We mustn’t lose the human touch in the way how we manage our employees. However, currently, in this pan(dem)ic situation, going as much digital as possible may be the only way how to keep our businesses going. In the long-term perspective, I think all administrative and transactional operations in HR should be digitalized but we must take care that the human element is not lost.
Can you share some insights from real-life examples of how large organizations are leveraging HR technologies - be it in the areas of AI, people analytics, talent acquisition tech, or RPA?
In our organization, we have implemented AI-powered tools for recruitment and talent placement, as well as chatbots helping us to manage standard queries from our employees. I especially like a tool that helps us to match our current talent with new business demands. In IT, there is always a lot of short-term projects after which you have to redeploy the employees to other projects. Traditionally, this requires a lot of manual work but it can be nicely automated using AI. You just have to feed the skill profiles of the employees into the tool, alongside the business requirements, and the tool churns out a list of employees whose profile matches the requirements the most. Elegant!
What does the HR Tech market in the COVID-19 era look like? How are service providers addressing the new market needs?
I can see a lot of service providers are stuck in the pre-pandemic mindset. They are offering pretty much the same as before, mainly traditional recruitment services and traditional HR tools. I think the current market will require more on outplacement services, reskilling, virtual working, and digitalization.
How would you define the role of a successful leader who can lead in a crisis?
It will be interesting to see which of the trends that have been accelerated by this pandemic, will actually stick in the future. I think we should be prepared for more digitalization and virtualization wherever it brings efficiency into our businesses. In that sense, HR has to find new ways of looking at topics like performance management, motivation, and employee engagement. These topics will have to be redefined and adopted for a more digital future.
Read more such stories from the November 2020 issue of our e-magazine on 'The State of Digital HR’