Reed Elsevier Philippines, HR Excellence Awards, Winning Secrets

HRO was proud to bring our flagship HR Excellence Awards 2022 to the Philippines in September this year. At our first-ever awards held there, Reed Elsevier Philippines celebrated the special night by winning two awards – gold for Excellence in Workplace Culture, and silver for Employer of the Year.  

Sharing more about the team's trail-blazing victory, Mary Rose "Seset" Lopez, HR Director and Manila Site Lead, details the group's success in fostering strong employee ambassadors, sustaining good employee net promoter scores year-on-year, and more.

Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you take us through the highs and lows of your winning strategy?

Change is inevitable, and the pandemic has no less than articulated this. Anything that involves change will be welcomed with a mix of emotions, from animosity to enthusiasm, or even doubt and uncertainty. In going through the continuing saga of change management, we made a conscious decision to distinguish between core values and practices; the core values don’t change but the practices will need to evolve otherwise, any organisation will stagnate.

By preserving the core that is embedded in our simple, straightforward employee value proposition (EVP) of ‘Valuing What Matters’, which seems to resonate well to all our employees, decisions inclusive of ways to achieve these become quite manageable. Always put your people at the core by asking, “how will this impact our most valuable asset – our people?”.

Another is by embracing an agile mindset wherein adjusting and refining as we go are expected because the right solutions will evolve for the organisation.

Q How did the HR team identify and align the business & employee needs, and craft this perfect solution?

I don’t think there will ever be a perfect solution, especially in matters that concern people management. However, as depicted in our EVP which is ‘Valuing What Matters’, it is easily percolated by practising these 3Cs; consultation, communication, and coherence. Culturally, we are consultative and highly appreciate being looped in, and given a heads-up before any major changes are executed.  There is power in involving our employees and stakeholders in co-creating change with them.

This strategy also gives them a renewed sense of ownership. Communication is key to achieving and maintaining a culture of transparency or no surprises which are essential elements in fostering an environment that is psychologically safe.

Q Could you share the results that your strategy has delivered – be it on the business, HR, or people side?

It was a remarkable journey to achieve our desired outcomes while taking every curve as a learning opportunity. To date, the execution of our strategies has successfully delivered the following:

  • Growth to 4,500+ strong full-time employees across two sites
  • Expansion of shared services scope to new businesses
  • Fostering strong employee ambassadors. Employee referral remains to be the top share of hires, which signifies a good employee experience, therefore inviting their network to join the company.
  • Received positive and organic employee reviews
  • Sustained good employee net promoter scores year-on-year
  • Received several industry awards and recognitions

This was made possible through effective collaboration and open communication amongst HR partners, the management team, operations leaders, and stakeholders.

seset lopez hr excellence

Pictured: Mary Rose "Seset" Lopez, HR Director and Manila Site Lead

Q What is your message to all the stakeholders who have supported you in this journey?

We appreciate the trust, confidence, and level of autonomy accorded to us. We look forward to stronger partnerships as we embark on our future-of-work journey. It’s our responsibility to co-create solutions based on personal preferences, balancing what is best for our people, teams, and the business.

Every company is unique and would require the signature framework on how to navigate through this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world by practising BANI and the right approach through:

  • Brittleness through resilience and flexibility
  • Anxiety through empathy and mindfulness
  • Non-linearity through context and flexibility
  • Incomprehensibility  through transparency and intuition

Q What are you most excited about when you think about the future of HR?

We are excited for HR to continue creating and offering value by cultivating an ecosystem that best addresses the needs of the people and the business:

  • Focusing on integrated solutions
  • Promoting and fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
  • Leveraging on analytics to build sustainable, value-adding solutions

As HR partners, our role is to advise the organisation on how to best strategically manage our talents as business resources to allow the organisation to achieve its goals. Now that we have gained this seat on the table, we look forward to keep educating our stakeholders, the company, and our people on best practices and innovative ways that will enable our brand to move the needle and take us to the next level.


Images / Provided (featuring the Reed Elsevier Philippines team & Mary Rose "Seset" Lopez)

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!

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