The Scania Way: Taking Care of People FirstBy Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 10/08/2020 - 06:00
Q: How is the role of HR changing amid the pandemic?
A: We changed our HR label and our department is now called People Experiences and Services. We take care of all the people involved with the brand, whether they are customers, suppliers, employees or their families and society in general. From the very first moment a person walks through our door, they should feel taken care of as if they were part of the company. This is how the role of human resources is changing for us.
Q: What are Scania’s strategies to adapt to the new normal?
A: One of the most important elements is the ability to respond quickly. Fortunately, we were able to anticipate this scenario, based on our experience in other countries. Another element is to listen. This is vital for any organization, particularly in the HR area. We must listen to our customers, to our suppliers, to our employees and even to their families. The listening factor allowed us to take that leap rapidly.
After listening, flexibility became essential. We created a committee focused on the well-being of our different teams that keeps in close communication with our employees. People from different areas took a proactive role in the committee that was in charge of conducting the strategy to avoid contagion. They became well-being agents. They are in charge of overseeing the application of all the necessary protocols while providing verified information regarding the pandemic. As we resume on-site activities in October, the committee will play an important role.
Q: What strategies are useful to boost motivation in uncertain times?
A: An employee is committed to the organization when the organization is committed to the employee. At Scania, all people in the organization are taken care of. During the pandemic, we conducted regular calls to see how our employees felt and how their families were doing. We also provide listening sessions where we share updates, but most of the times we listen to their concerns, opinions and doubts.
A human resources department cannot know it all. One of the mistakes most organizations make is assuming they know what their employees need. Again, we need to listen. Surveys have proven to be an effective way to do this. Once the survey is answered, the organization should act on the results. In our case, based on the survey responses, we created strategies regarding the areas of most concern to our employees. There are elements that no organization can prevent but uncertainty can be alleviated through clear, transparent and close communication.
Q: What role does NOM-035 play when taking care of employees’ mental health in these times?
A: NOM-035 is a really good tool as long as people remain the main focus. At Scania, we have high standards when it comes to taking care of our staff. HR has always played a relevant role within the organization and by the time this norm arrived, we had already implemented many of its mandates. Some of these include providing emotional support, physiotherapy, and specific programs employees can lean on. This norm is a really good initiative as more and more companies will start to implement it.
Having said that, we take care of our people because at the end of the day we are helping general society and motivation comes from within. To begin with, we do not distinguish among our different employees; all of them enjoy the same working benefits. During the pandemic, home office became a challenge. We realized, after listening to our staff, that many of them did not have access to private schools or second-language classes. So, we offered a variety of programs to provide stimulus for their children. We are also very excited to launch our program related to home schooling where we provide tips to keep improving amid these new challenges.
Q: What skills are becoming relevant when looking for new talent and what challenges will Generation Z bring to organizations?
A: We are proud to be an inclusive company and what we hire is attitude. When a person is eager to learn and highly motivated, we can easily guide them through the steps that need to be taken, provided that candidates comply with the minimal required experience for the role. Last year, for instance, we provided more than 50,000 hours in training. The most important element is attitude. The skills that we are prioritizing are agility, flexibility, adaptability and accountability.
Q: What areas are gaining prominence within organizations?
A: Within Scania we created a new department focused on business transformation solutions, which is responsible for providing new commercial solutions. I believe no area within Scania is more important than another; we are complementary. In general, at Scania and other organizations, I can say that HR is gaining importance. This department should be about more than just the payroll.
Scania is a Swedish company that manufactures heavy trucks and buses. It also builds diesel motors for industrial and marine applications. The company is active in more than 100 countries with a global workforce of 52,000 employees