COVID-19 Roundtable Discussions
Thank you to the members who participated in our recent Virtual Roundtable Discussion, including representatives from Micron, Amgen, Schneider Electric, Lendlease, Jardine Matheson and National Australian Bank.
These notes are drawn from the January 28 APAC Roundtable, with some additional inputs from the European & North American roundtable held later that day.
With COVID-19 vaccine distribution increasing across multiple markets, HR leaders are deciding which requirements, incentives, and guidelines they will put in place for their people. Already, policies vary widely, with some member companies considering compulsory vaccinations for subgroups of employees and at least one company taking a completely hands-off approach.
- “Encouraged, but not required” is the most common policy: No one on the calls reported that their companies are moving toward broad-based compulsory vaccine requirements, but nearly all said they are encouraging their employees to get the vaccine. The level of encouragement varies widely by company, with some promising to pay for vaccines, some considering acquiring doses to administer on-site and others conducting educational town halls with outside vaccine experts.
- Incentives—more the exception than the rule: One member organization is providing “extra” PTO for employees who choose to be vaccinated, but the more common approach is to encourage the vaccine without offering extra pay, benefits or perks.
- An outlier, with a reason: One member company has communicated to all global employees that it will not be encouraging nor discouraging employees to take the vaccine, will not track their decision and will not require any employees to disclose their vaccine status to customers. The company’s CHRO said this stance aligns with the company’s values of personal responsibility, dignity and individual privacy.
- Not pinning hopes on vaccine successes: As one member put it, safety, prevention and sanitation have kept employees safe for the past year, and those policies will remain in place. “We’re not hanging our hat on the vaccine at all,” the member said. “And we anticipate that we will face backlash from employees if we push too hard on the vaccine.”
A Renewed Focus on the Future
As one member put, “2020 was the best year ever for HR in my company.” In terms of service delivery, launching new initiatives and keeping employees safe, HR rose to the challenge last year. Now, members are building on that momentum to tackle ambitious new programs around the future of work and talent.
- New approaches to internal mobility and talent management: Two members on the call are in the midst of implementing or expanding a global A.I.-driven, skills-based talent marketplace. Another is knee deep into a 5-year Human Capital Strategy overhaul, also with an emphasis on skills v. roles and traditional career paths. The shift to skills-based talent management is accelerating, with new tools and services entering the market.
- Digital and the next generation of talent: A year of remote and hybrid working has only increased he demand for digital talent in large global organizations. One member company is making a concerted effort to attract more early-career digital talent—expanding in-person internship, trainee and in-school programs as other companies despite the challenges of doing so amid a pandemic. “We have no other choice,” the member said. “Our organization is aging rapidly and that is a major concern for us.”
- Hybrid and remote work demand increased focus on DE&I: Members recognize that hybrid and remote working surface new challenges with diversity, equity and inclusion. How will this effect certain groups more than others? What are the implications of a hybrid workforce on women? What are ways to drive company unity, culture and vision in this new environment? One member company is focusing particularly on its population that is within 5 to 10 years of retirement, with a goal of keeping these workers engaged and sharing their institutional and cultural knowledge with younger employees.
Future APAC Roundtables:
With it being the first APAC member roundtable of 2021, members discussed future topics and format for these ongoing monthly calls:
- Format: 60 minute Zoom roundtable once monthly for APAC members and their delegates
- Topics: HR priorities, including DE&I, Future of Work, Culture & Purpose, Leadership and Talent Management. Members specifically declined to keep these roundtables focused on COVID-related issues.
Thank you to all who participated for your energy and enthusiasm! We look forward to continuing the conversation!
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