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With the Industrial Revolution 4.0 in full swing, COVID-19 global pandemic, and leadership change accelerating our transformation journey it is indeed an exciting time to be identified as the successor to lead the human resource function of CIMB Group.
In formulating CIMB Group’s refreshed medium-term strategy, Forward23+, we wanted to recognise the importance and positive impact of placing our people agenda front and center in attaining our business aspirations.
The pivotal role of HR in driving transformation
One of the strategic themes of our Forward23+ plan is to build a purpose-driven organisation, and at the heart of it is our people. In order to become a high performing sustainable organisation in the ASEAN region, we need to have the right culture, the best talent and a thriving environment.
In realising our aspirations, the following underpins the transformation that HR is driving: talent, culture, workforce model as well as ways of working.
Nurturing our talent
The real drivers of our transformation are our people, and we make it a priority to support the growth and development of our employees. Changes brought upon by the pandemic has nudged us to relook at our talent development and succession management approaches as to ensure our bench strength remains strong.
The rapid disruption in the banking landscape has also led us to prioritise future-proofing our people to ensure they are equipped with the right skills and capabilities. A lot of my time is spent with my team to identify measurements and tracking methodology to gauge the outcomes of upskilling, against the effort we have invested to realise our objectives. We are leaning towards an approach to measure and track the application of new skills in actual practice.
We seek to continue to invest in our people andprovide them with fulfilling careers. Ultimately, we are working towards enhancing the talent experience for our employees through differentiated and structured development journeys.
Developing a wholesome work culture
Shared workplace values, behaviours, and underlying mindsets collectively informs culture. The success of any transformation effort depends on whether and how well leaders engage and motivate their teams.
The findings of our recent pulse check survey revealed valuable insights into the areas we should focus on improving, particularly on the need to work collaboratively within countries and across the region.
Our focus has been to foster a vibrant and supportive work environment for #teamCIMB throughout their employment lifecycle. This is especially relevant today, now that we have a hybrid working arrangement in place.
In supporting our people, we introduced Wellness@CIMB as a comprehensive work-life integration initiative. The programme encompasses flexible working arrangements, benefits to support working mothers, health programmes and financial support for target employee groups. For employees working on site, we also offer family-friendly amenities such as nursing rooms, childcare facilities and rest and relax rooms.
Despite the engagement constraints the hybrid working arrangement presents, we still find ways to stay connected and engaged with our community through virtual means. For example, Group Operations has hosted dance challenges on TikTok and Instagram, Group Technology held a virtual cooking competition and Group HR had conducted series of “Laugh Together, Stay Connected” challenges on Instagram for regional employees to share their uplifting work-from-anywhere moments. We will be rolling out more wellbeing programmes throughout the year.
Additionally, we are also enhancing our work culture in line with diversity and inclusion principles. We will continue to create an environment where our people are able to be their best self at work, and ensure there is a healthy mix of talent regardless of gender, age, and background.
The forefront of our diversity and inclusion agenda is the women agenda. Although our overall gender composition is balanced, our data shows that the drop off rate of female employees is higher past the middle management level.
We will continue to develop progressive policies that are supportive and inclusive not just for women, but for our employees across various backgrounds.
Powering next generation HR
In our multifaceted transformation, we also look at the fundamentals of how we are organised and the effectiveness of the way we work.
As an ASEAN firm, we seek ways to enhance the way we work cross-functionally across the region. We are also reviewing our organisation structure to develop optimal spans and layers to improve productivity, in alignment with our business strategies.
Naturally, we look to leverage on technology to enable greater productivity and efficiency. While we currently have a common HR technology infrastructure, there is much room to enhance things further. For example, in the area of people analytics we are pulling together dashboards and will increasingly move to incorporate forward looking indicators to allow for better informed decisions. I continue to emphasise the importance of data credibility in our work. When we can achieve this, we can collaborate better across the region as a large HR team and be recognised as a strategic partner to businesses.
In terms of work culture for the HR team, a change that I am bringing is one that delivers value from the outside in. I always encourage my team to look at things with a problem statement and identify what needs to be achieved – is it an opportunity to capture or a problem to solve. I constantly ask them – how do we compare against other organisations in the region? Why is this done that way? Is this something that our employees will benefit from?
I want to nurture an inquisitive and analytical mindset in order for us to continuously innovate and deliver value.
... and so…
My journey as a HR leader has only just started but I intend to do it by going back to the fundamentals – our people, our culture and the way we work. The most important thing the pandemic has taught us is that in order to keep moving forward we need to continuously learn, unlearn, adapt and evolve. It is a great time indeed to be serving the bank and it is an honour to lead a multi-talented #teamCIMB.