With Indonesia set to be among the largest economies of the world, CHROs of the Asian hub are reimagining business, culture and talent development through tech. In a chat with TechConnect’s CHRO, P Swasono Satyo, who was a panellist at People Matters TechHR Pulse Indonesia, we spoke about the role of HR in creating an agile, responsive and inclusive work environment, how digital transformation isn’t just about the big topics like AI, big data and ML, and a need for a holistic approach to global talent management.
You can gain new insights on meta-leadership, redesigning global rewards strategy, crisis management, adversity quotient, ethical decision-making and what’s the smart thing to do to collectively design the future of Indonesia. Excerpts from the interview:
Reimagining Business in Indonesia Through Tech Advancement
Swasono Satyo believes that a massive restructuring is needed in HR, which can be achieved through three dimensions: Rebuild, Rewire and Recode.
- REBUILD, to aim higher: Increasing the quality of workers
- REWIRE, to build stronger teams: Increasing collaboration within talents
- RECODE, to move faster: Increasing adaptability
Elaborating on the three dimensions, he explains how it is a human resources’ end-to-end approach to organisational change. It suggests changing and improving the physical or structural aspects of the company while addressing the cultural and procedural elements to create a more agile, responsive, and inclusive work environment. The digital tech transformation, he informs, can bring a wide range of benefits for the business in terms of new and diverse business streams, new product incubation, merger and acquisition and turnaround business.
At the national scale, the focus revolves around ESG considerations and creating employment opportunities for the community. It aims to enhance the country's foreign exchange reserves, develop flagship products with a high national and international scale, engage in both exports and imports, and manage fluctuations in capital and investment inflows, fostering overall economic growth. Moreover, from the last G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia got strategic benefits like earlier information and knowledge about global economic developments, potential risks faced, as well as economic policies implemented by other countries, especially the developed countries enabling the Asian powerhouse to prepare the right and best economic policies.
Meanwhile, the private sector is playing a crucial role in economic development, helping the government pursue production activities in an effort to increase community prosperity, open massive employment opportunities, etc.
Technology Adoption and Penetration: Overcoming the Hurdles
For the CHRO, who sees AI as an opportunity, he is keen to capitalise on the trend. He realises the phenomenon of digitisation is inevitable and with more and more companies realising the importance of shifting mindsets and adapting culture towards it, he believes it is not only crucial for survival but also a differentiating factor among similar industry players.
With the pandemic forcing firms including TechConnect to change how business processes were conducted, Swasono Satyo feels the trend aligns with the opportunity to accelerate digitisation and business modernisation. With the latter and technology playing a more significant role, working within mobility constraints is no longer seen as a hindrance, with remote and hybrid work arrangement becoming the new norm.
However, he cautions that digital transformation is not just about "big topics" like artificial intelligence, big data, or machine learning. Simple things like how to communicate and solve problems more effectively are the best approaches to implementing digital technology in business processes.
“A digital mindset cannot be cultivated in the workplace without the right motivation. In order to achieve this mindset, TechConnect motivates all HR professionals in the company with supportive infrastructure, formal and informal improvement of digital literacy, and appreciation for their innovation and performance using technology”, he shares.
Reimagining Culture for Productivity and Innovation
When it comes to creating global talent pools, Swasono Satyo is of the opinion that one should start simple, like get involved in fostering an inclusive and diverse organisational culture that attracts and retains talent from various backgrounds and locations. At TechConnect, where a wide range of businesses are managed in different locations including Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, Africa, China, Korea, India, etc., the culture is bound to be different.
Global talent management requires a holistic approach that considers the unique needs and perspectives of employees worldwide. Creating an environment where individuals feel valued, regardless of their geographical location or cultural background is possible and here’s how it is done at TechConnect:
- Remote Work and Flexibility: Encourage flexible scheduling and policies for remote work. This not only takes into account various time zones but also enables workers to work in settings where they perform best.
- Global Collaboration Tools: Implement tools and technologies that facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among teams spread across different locations. This includes video conferencing, project management platforms, and other digital collaboration tools.
- Global Learning Environment: We equipped our employees to be the next future leaders globally to strengthen proactive-collaborative learning culture, coaching culture and building a strong global talent pipeline for generating CXOs, while inspiring workers to unleash their potential.
- Global Employee Engagement: Implement initiatives that foster a sense of community and connection among employees across different locations. Virtual team-building activities, shared online platforms, and regular global town hall meetings can contribute to a cohesive global culture.
- Implement Meritocracy & Redesign Global Rewards Strategy: Overhauling the compensation and benefits scheme based on performance is a pivotal strategy to enhance agility within teams. Meritocracy fosters a work environment where individual efforts directly translate into recognition and advancement. As individuals see a direct correlation between their efforts and the rewards they receive, it reinforces a shared commitment to agility, innovation, and achieving collective goals, ultimately driving improved team performance and business outcomes.
Reimagining Yourself: Mastering New Skills
For Swasono Satyo, leadership goes beyond technical skills or years of experience. It calls for effective crisis management, people management, persuasion, adversity quotient, and communication skills. Furthermore, he believes, the organisation needs high resilience and agility in order to train its staff to become leaders who can further the company's expansion.
The concept of meta-leadership is necessary as it is relevant to the current situation. Meta-leadership is a framework developed from research on leaders in high-risk and high-stakes environments. In TechConnect's implementation, meta-leadership and meta-organisation empower individuals to identify important, intricate, and all-encompassing scenarios and issues in order to create a plan of action.
He states that the skills he would love to master to stay integral in the human-machine collaboration era are:
- Adaptability: The ability to quickly learn and adjust to new technologies, workflows, and business models is crucial in a rapidly evolving environment.
- Creativity: While machines excel at repetitive tasks, human creativity is invaluable for generating new ideas, solving complex problems, and driving innovation.
- Emotional Intelligence: Human-machine collaboration often involves working with diverse teams. Emotional intelligence, including empathy and effective communication, is essential for successful collaboration and team dynamics.
- Ethical Decision-Making: As technology becomes more integrated into various aspects of life, ethical considerations become increasingly important.
- Tech Literacy: Develop an understanding of key technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chain, and the Internet of Things. It's not necessary to be an expert, but it will help to have a basic understanding.
As his firm makes significant investments in talent development to transition from ‘task workers’ to ‘knowledge workers’, he shares that skills like customer-centric focus, agile and scrum methodologies, change management, AI and ML literacy, creativity and innovation, digital transformation management and big data analytics are being brought into focus. In the end, the ability to leverage technology while embracing and enhancing uniquely human qualities will be a valuable asset in the workplace of the future.
The Future of Work in Indonesia
When it comes to identifying what has been effective, developing an inclusive and diverse workplace culture has been the key to ensuring that every worker, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other aspect of diversity, feels valued, empowered, and accepted at work. What Swasono Satyo thinks should be improved to achieve the more ideal DE&I for the future workplace is creating a more equitable and harmonious society, where all individuals have equal opportunities to thrive and develop, either in prosperity or professional development. Building an inclusive culture and supporting employees from different backgrounds is not just the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do.
The resilience of Indonesia's economic indicators, coupled with the positive outcomes from international engagements like the G20 Summit, underscores the nation's ability to navigate challenges and capitalise on opportunities, setting a promising trajectory for its economic future.