Schneider Electric is leading the way on digital transformation with everything from creating flexible organisations and resourcing models through to building ecosystems of influencers and adopting a culture of continuous innovation.

HR leaders discussed the challenges of managing constant rapid transformation at our recent ChapmanCG roundtable in Bangkok, which was co-hosted by Andre Young, Schneider Electric’s Thailand and Laos Head of Human Resources.

Leading the Way

Schneider Electric is a digital transformation leader for energy management and automation including cloud systems, pervasive sensing, analytics, machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and end-to-end security, which they have combined and included in their overall digital strategy. Connecting products and making them smarter is their current business priority. Schneider’s next focus will be on building services and digital business models, both internally and externally.

Digital and Flexible Organisations

The digital revolution is upon us, and the world is now even more connected and digitised than ever before. Transformation is everywhere, and it is driven both internally and externally. There are new ways of working and corporations need to ensure they possess the relevant systems and tools to support these changes. We need to simplify processes to do more, combined with the digital touch to increase efficiency.

Some of the key ways digitalisation and flexibility are changing the workplace include:

  • Flexible organisations – having agile and networked teams, segmented by categories, businesses or project groups, facilitated by digital tools.
  • Flexible resourcing – provision of high-speed access to resources via AI matching, tapping into the open talent economy and/or recruiting the next generation of talents.
  • Flexible performance management – performance management that operates on-the-go with dynamic goals as well as consistent assessments and feedback.
  • Digital journey – deliver hyper personalised experiences and programmes to both internal and external stakeholders.

Re-imagining HR

In order to transform a business, individuals and teams must first be transformed to bring out the best in themselves for high performance. Likewise, HR teams need to up-skill by understanding the broader business and digital agenda. As a change agent, it is critical for HR to have strong analytical thinking and coaching skills, whilst displaying resilience and adaptability.

HR needs to partner closely with the business and support leaders to make this digital transformation a reality. The following tips on how to successfully lead through transformation were discussed:

  • Ecosystem of influencers – secure and recognise the right talent, focus on growing capabilities and increasing engagement.
  • Total empowerment – ensure the right tools (digital and otherwise) are in place in order to enable managers to assume full ownership of people-related activities.
  • Tomorrow’s technology – enable easier and direct access to information and more efficient management processes.

Dare to Disrupt

HR has the opportunity to make an impact and co-create the future by nurturing upcoming leaders. The key to thriving in this competitive environment lies in changing the DNA of HR across cultures, and shifting mindsets from thinking within constraints to thinking in abundance of resources, skills and ideas.

Constantly in Beta” – Schneider Electric’s new value encourages experimentation and discourages perfectionism. Nothing is perfect and there will always be room for improvement. We need to constantly obtain customer feedback, fix the failures and reinvent things to continuously better how we work. Innovation is key, and this encompasses risk-taking and fast-learning behaviours.

  • Invest in knowledge and development – this is the best investment as it pays the highest dividends. Be mindful of the various learning paces of different employees as millennials tend to possess faster learning agility. Encourage interactions and learnings on digital platforms.
  • Digital disruptors – identify and groom digital citizens as they are catalysts to drive innovation. They should have a strong technology understanding, be adaptable and willing to share new digital solutions.
  • Design thinking – broadens perspectives and introduces different creative solutions as compared to critical thinking, where one jumps straight into solution-mode. Having a team of diverse backgrounds also helps to inculcate different viewpoints.

HR leaders at the roundtable were in agreement that the digital transformation period will create both opportunities and threats to any organisation. In anticipating the future, organisations need to visualise a clear roadmap and use a data-led strategy to establish the right priorities and solutions. Changing the culture and mindset will be the centrepiece of the transformation.

Read more ChapmanCG articles on digitalisation here, and to hear more from Schneider, follow the link here.

Thank you again to the HR leaders who joined us including those from Unilever, Philip Morris International, Nissan, Mondelez, MSIG, Imerys and DKSH.

Here’s what people are saying about the session:

Arindam Mukherjee (DKSH)

“I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion on a very relevant topic of Digital Transformation and the Future of HR Talent. I strongly believe that digital transformation is an utmost necessary and companies need to adapt for new generations and leverage their digital skills to be successful. Having said that digitalisation and AI cannot entirely replace the HR talents in an organisation. HR is a ‘people business’ and ultimate decisions should land on the human side of the human-AI equation. Creativity, imagination, intuition, empathy, compassion, emotion, compromise, engagement and persuasion are all powerful aspects at the heart of our people business. We are all sentient beings with the capacity to perceive, feel and experience subjectively.”

David Williams (Imerys)

“It was a great session and an opportunity to meet HR professionals from a variety of different sectors. Although our organisations are at different stages of the digitalisation journey, the takeaway for me is that we all face similar challenges & opportunities and it was very valuable to discuss and share these.”

Sherman Ip (Nissan)

“Digitising HR is a very timely relevant topic for the VUCA world. It was great to exchange knowledge and ideas and for sure sparked some new ideas for me.”