People create culture and culture brings people together. This idea has been the key for a human resource leader to keep their own people engaged, motivated, and inspired amidst the challenges presented by the pandemic.
Anmarie Forrester, APac Regional Human Resources Director at Experian, said building a solid work culture has helped them weather storms and even increase workforce productivity at a time when engaging people, especially those in hybrid setups, is very difficult.
“We know that people are our biggest differentiator, and our culture is an important part of working at Experian. When we bring people together it builds our unique culture, which is fundamental to driving high performance and generates opportunities for all,” she told People Matters in an interview.
Adjusting to the needs of employees
Culture is always anchored on people, and people would always have different needs, which is why Forrester believed their personalised approach in getting to know their workforce has worked wonders for the organisation.
First, the company introduced a Bring Your Own Buddy (BYOB) programme to recognise and confront the scarcity of tech and analytic talent in the market.
“We recognise that an employee referring a friend/colleague into the group is one of our biggest opportunities and where we have had the most success,” Forrester said.
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They have even responded well to the struggles of their workforce with fatigue and burnout at the height of the pandemic by creating a global wellbeing hub where employees can quickly find mental health resources.
Forrester said webinars on fatigue and tangible classes on fitness and yoga are vital in supporting their employees, but they recognise that for sustainable change, employers must also understand the root cause of burnout.
Inspiring collaboration and innovation
Now that the pandemic restrictions are easing out, Forrester said they re-introduced activities like face-to-face town halls and “Women in Experian” lunches and events. They are also planning to bring back physical Christmas and employee end-of-year parties.
“Being with colleagues not only inspires collaboration and innovation, but helps people learn from one another and build relationships which are key for career development,” Forrester said, adding that people are starting to adapt to a COVID-normal world.
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“In Experian Australia, we are embedding our approach to flexible working and the Future of work through implementing hybrid working. Our offices are great places where we can work, engage and foster relationships,” she added.
Lastly, Forrester acknowledges that now that hybrid work is here to stay, they won’t be expecting that everyone is in the office 5 days a week, nor will employees be at home all the time.
“Over the last few years, we have proven that we can thrive in a flexible working environment, and this will continue to be the new normal for Experian, both locally and globally,” she said.
Forrester has been with Experian for over 5 years, leading the regional HR team both in Australia and New Zealand, as well as in the Asia-Pacific Region, Japan, and South Korea. Prior to this, she was also an HR leader at Westpac for 6 fruitful years.