We tell people they’re CEOs of their career: Priyanka Anand, Head of People Function, Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania & India

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July 05, 2021 2:30 AM

Even before the pandemic, our employees had the opportunity to work from any facility in the country of their employment, so remote working isn’t something new at Ericsson.

Priyanka Anand, Head of People Function, Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania & India

While the pandemic has been unfortunate for a lot of people in terms of their health and lives and livelihoods, it was also path-breaking for certain organisational functions, such as human resources (HR). “At Ericsson, we focused on supporting our employees to help them deal with uncertainties, as well as equipping our leaders to become coaches,” says Priyanka Anand, Head of People Function, Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania & India. In an interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, she adds that the HR became a 24-hour go-to platform for employees. Excerpts:

During the lockdown, even as employees were physically apart, did the HR’s connect with them grow stronger?

We focused on supporting our employees to help them deal with uncertainties; we also equipped our leaders to become coaches. At Ericsson, the HR function became a 24-hour go-to platform for employees.

Will 5G make remote working easier?

Even before the pandemic, our employees had the opportunity to work from any facility in the country of their employment, so remote working isn’t something new at Ericsson.

We’re now starting to prepare parts of our operations, across the globe, for a hybrid working model, and are getting a lot of feedback from employees. We’re looking at how we can employ tools that enable employees to collaborate, cooperate and be more productive, irrespective of where they are working from.

So if an employee wants to work from home, she would be able to do so…

It isn’t only about working from home; it’s more about working from any place that makes you the most productive. What’s important is this whole collaboration and cooperation aspect, as also helping make our employees more engaged and motivated.

Are leaders, in general, open to employees working from anywhere?

It’s difficult to generalise, but the world is on a journey to embrace the new normal, as are our leaders; we are constantly investing in them.

Is it possible to accurately measure employee productivity in a hybrid workplace?

Of course, there are techniques to measure productivity, such as the time and motion study. At the same time, the real aspect of productivity is are we meeting financial targets, do we have satisfied customers, do we have engaged employees, are we doing attrition management the right way, are we able to retain high performers, are we investing in people to help make them career shift, and so on. The good part is that, during the lockdown when employees were working remotely, none of these things took a backseat at Ericsson. 5G, in a big way, will enable a platform that makes remote working even more effective.

At the end of the day, you take care of your employees, and they will take care of your business.

Should upskilling be an employee’s responsibility or that of the company?

We tell our employees—whom we refer to as our people—that they are the CEO of their career, and that Ericsson will do everything possible to create an enabling ecosystem for them. We will create online learning platforms that make it possible for them to have access to anytime, anywhere learning. However, pushing people to pick up learning is not our culture, and yet employees understand that zero learning is zero tolerance; we want them to learn because that’s what ultimately helps makes Ericsson a market leader.

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