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Reinventing, Reimagining and Reinvigorating Human Resources

A Virtual People and Culture Lab featuring Two World-Class Chief Human Resources Officers

Hosted by: JLL MetLife Enspira

Last month, ChapmanCG and Enspira, the growing HR consulting firm, co-hosted a virtual People and Culture Lab for our collective HR networks. We featured two accomplished CHROs: Mary Bilbrey, Chief Human Resources Officer at JLL and Susan Podlogar, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources at MetLife. Mary and Susan shared their perspectives on Reinventing, Reimagining and Reinvigorating HR, particularly in the light of all that has transpired in 2020.

The door is open now. We can openly talk about mental health and inclusion in the workplace as very real parts of doing business. Understanding the individual is a very important lesson that we all learned in 2020. We all experienced the pandemic in very different ways and how we respond to our employees has to have the deepest level of care and attention.

Mary Bilbrey

We cannot waste an opportunity to reinvent every process, every practice and every belief that we’ve held onto for decades, and explore how HR can continue to challenge to be relevant, to do things that are accelerating productivity and business outcomes. We can reimagine the forefront of how, where, and when work gets done. On reinvigorating, meaning as technology comes into the workplace and workforce even more, we have the opportunity to help redirect human energy towards more meaning. I keep these 3 R’s as my north star to make sure I am challenged.

Susan Podlogar

Susan Podlogar Presentation

The session started with Susan Podlogar who talked about the work being done at MetLife, particularly since COVID-19 struck and the accelerated plan for change that HR is now helping to lead. Susan introduced our overall theme and areas she covered included:

  • Sustainably balancing productivity and well-being.
  • Looking broadly at how each part of the organizational ecosystem works together to benefit the whole; and how systems, processes, and policies all interact to ensure the organization is pulling in the same direction.
  • How HR can inspire and assist the organization to embrace change.
  • Bringing discussions on mental health and well-being to the fore.
  • Not being afraid to ask: “How prepared and resilient are you as a team and how resilient is your organization’s culture?” Only by addressing these topics head-on can we evolve and improve.
  • This time has been an unprecedented test of company leadership. How can HR enable leaders to be better leaders?

The video below shows Susan’s presentation

Mary Bilbrey Presentation

Mary Bilbrey started with the role of HR in difficult times, pointing out that HR, through its experience of having to be agile and adapt to different organization structures and operating models, is well-positioned to be able to effectively lead organizations through change. She was then able to discuss preparedness in HR and provide some recent examples from JLL:

  • Insightful cost management: HR can help the business identify where opportunities are, the associated risks and rewards, and how to navigate these challenges in a way that keeps culture, engagement and candidate experience intact.
  • Data-driven thought leadership: How the HR team at JLL used data to drive transparency and inclusiveness and remove anxiety created by uncertainty.
  • Data developed by the HR team also helped identify where there were gaps in capability in cases of remote working. By identifying these gaps, new virtual training programs that were already in development were sped up and put into the hands of employees via mobile applications.
  • Opening the door on discussions on well-being. It is not a taboo subject anymore. It can never be again—not with so many of us all over the world being impacted at the same time, experiencing stress and anxiety in many different forms.
  • Being experts in real estate, we were interested to hear Mary’s remarks on re-entry into the workplace. Health and Safety is of paramount importance, so to bring employees back, JLL developed its ‘Step Forward’ campaign.

The video below shows Mary’s presentation

The People and Culture Lab ended with a lively Q&A session. Mary and Susan’s responses covered areas such as goal setting and performance during unprecedented times; repurposing of engagement surveys to gain pulse feedback from employees; and accelerating virtual learning programs to meet immediate demands. Redeploying, reskilling, and upskilling workers to deal with unforeseen circumstances was another question raised by participants and addressed by our presenters.


One thing has become very clear these last few months and echoes what Mary and Susan discussed: everything within an organization is integrated and everyone has a voice. It is important to listen to the individual and value their experience, because it is the collection of these individuals which creates the unique culture we all have in our respective organizations. This is where the power of change and the ability to Reinvent, Reimagine and Reinvigorate Human Resources truly exists.


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