For Subhankar Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director & Head HR, Asia Pacific & Japan, Lenovo, being adaptable is not a choice but a way of life. The first pillar of this, he says, is to have a change mindset and understand that ‘nothing is cast in stone’.

Q What is your take on the most-needed and least-needed skills currently? What are some jobs that will thrive, and jobs that will disappear post the pandemic, both in Lenovo and in HR? 

COVID-19 has accelerated global digitisation, and has had a more profound impact on skills requirements and the labour market. We had already seen the elimination of jobs to automation; now, due to social distancing, we are also seeing the further contraction of certain industries and certain jobs in all industries that need close customer contact or interaction.

What this means is that organisations are also turning to automation to protect people’s health, at both production sites and offices. Additionally, some industries are taking advantage of governmental incentives to go digital. Therefore, we will see more demand for digital skills in industries like technology, healthcare, e-commerce, telecom and learning.

In the technology industry, we are seeing more demand for people who can manage integrated hardware and services solutions, to help customers practice social distancing and remote working norms, while keeping employees safe. In turn, this also means that HR professionals need to have a comprehensive understanding of all of these areas to recruit, manage, and develop talent.

Q Given the changes in job requirements, being adaptable is no longer a good-to-have, rather a can't-do-without skill. As an HR leader, how are you keeping yourself adaptable? 

As a technology leader, Lenovo demonstrates high organisational ability and hence, for an employee, being adaptable is not a choice but a way of life. As a HR leader, there are many ways one can remain adaptable and agile, which can include:

  • Having a change mindset and understanding that ‘nothing is cast in stone’,
  • Embracing ambiguity, and having the patience to adopt a positive mindset to find solutions to tackle any challenges,
  • Thinking creatively and creating alternate options to address a situation,
  • Having the ability to quickly shift focus, based on changing business needs.

Q What are some of the things on your job description that are brand-new and fresh?

Some of my daily tasks in the new normal include:

  • Preparing and responding to a dynamic situation or even a crisis: for example, having a business contingency plan,
  • Having weekly reviews to focus on the health and safety of employees across Asia Pacific,
  • Reviewing and creating programmes, processes and policies that can help the company adapt to the new normal,
  • Optimising workplace resources and workforce metrics for better efficiency,
  • Designing creative ways to build virtual engagement and organisation collaboration.

Q How has the HR function at Lenovo helped to enable the company to navigate an increasingly digital future?

Doing digital is not the same as being digital. Digital transformation is about people and culture and not just about technology.

HR enables digital transformation in Lenovo in different ways. This includes putting in place an organisational design that supports digital business models, nurturing a data-driven culture for decision making, creating seamless employee experiences between digital and real world and skilling employees to leverage digital tools.

Q Here's a fun one - how do you cool off after a fiery day at work?

There are a few ways that helps me unwind – intense early morning bicycling, watching funny animal viral videos on the internet, cooking a nice dinner or just reading about everything happening in the world.

Photo / Provided

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