Now more than ever, supporting employees and colleagues going through these times has become more critical.
The Lopez Learning Synergy Summit (LLSS) 2021, held virtually last Nov. 25, 2021 with the theme “The Human Deal: Elevating the Employee Experience,” aimed to uncover lessons and innovative people programs designed to help employees and organizations navigate the new normal way of life. The summit gathered more than 500 leaders, decision-makers, HR practitioners and other participants from across the Lopez Group.
Gartner’s The Human Deal Framework, on which the LLSS 2021 theme was based, proposes a reinvented employee value proposition or EVP called the “human deal.” It centers around the employee’s emotional response to deeper connections, radical flexibility, personal growth, holistic wellbeing and shared purpose.
LLSS 2021 sought to compare and contrast the human deal framework by seeking best practices from experts and finding ways to build on the programs that Lopez Group companies have launched in recent years.
Setting the tone
Mercedes “Cedie” Lopez Vargas (MLV), chairperson of the Lopez Group HR Council, opened LLSS 2021 on an optimistic note. She explained the context and rationale of the human deal theme and gave a glimpse of the summit topics and guest speakers.
MLV asked participants to keep in mind these burning questions: How can we help our people with the challenges we’re facing?; how can each of us equip ourselves to transform our businesses and the way we operate?; how do we build a healthy corporate culture in the midst of all this and what should it look like?; and, what opportunities are there to find personal growth and fulfillment in the Lopez Group, particularly in being of service to the Filipino and doing our part to build a better world for the generations to come?
Listening to, caring for people
LLSS 2021 provided valuable insights into the untold benefits of putting people front and center of an organization’s strategic agenda.
Richard Tantoco, president and COO of Energy Development Corporation (EDC), keynoted the summit with his template for crisis leadership and how EDC successfully shepherded people through the highly disruptive COVID-19 pandemic-related change.
“We listened to the most-felt needs of our fellow employees because we genuinely cared,” Tantoco said.
Investing in one’s human resources is always foolproof. Anthony Fernandez, president and COO of First Balfour, dwelt on their experience with the Investors in People (IIP) standard. He discussed First Balfour’s IIP journey, starting off with the company’s willingness to be evaluated against a standard and their steadfast commitment to maintain that standard over time.
Karrie Ilagan, managing director of Cisco Philippines, spoke about their transformative journey from a rigid, topdown company to one with a “conscious culture,” where employees are mindful of their impact on the environment and communities. Ilagan cited several examples of how Cisco invested in building a culture of diversity and inclusivity, accountability and empowerment. If one thinks about it, “there is no longer a boundary between work and life—there is just life,” Ilagan pointed out.
According to Mitzie Antonio, senior vice president and HR director of Nestlé Philippines, getting the employees’ pulse on a regular basis is crucial. This makes them feel valued and helps organizations to pinpoint and prioritize improvement areas.
Antonio stressed that it is important to know one’s employees well, recognize their differences, cocreate programs, initiate policies based on their feedback, and to partner with them by using their strengths to do good for customers and the community.
Yoly Crisanto, Globe Telecom senior vice president, chief sustainability officer and corporate communications head, spoke about #AlagangGlobe, a holistic program that embodies a key pillar of their “Care for People” sustainability strategy, and how it aligns with their business strategy and purpose.
Building on the theme of radical flexibility, Yanpi Oliveros Pascual, global HR business partner at Unilever, talked about their Flex Experience digital platform, a technology-driven employee tool connected to the company’s internal marketplace. This groundbreaking platform enables fast and effective sourcing of the right people with the right skills at the right time, thus reducing the time required to mobilize needed human resources.
Capping off learning and discovery at LLSS 2021 was the presentation by Great Place to Work Philippines managing partner Antoniette MendozaTalosig. Mendoza-Talosig summed up what a great workplace is with a proposition that is based on their global surveys covering 10 million employees in 97 countries: A great workplace is one in which you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with.
She ended with this emphatic message: “It starts with building trust. For employees to bring their whole self to work, they must first believe that their leaders are credible, that they are respected by them and that they are treated fairly.”
Passion for social commitment
The Lopez Synergy in Action or LSA breakout sessions enabled summit participants to take a brief look at the opportunities to unlock many of their people’s skills and talents and contribute to social responsibility efforts across the Lopez Group. Personal growth and fulfillment and being in service of the Filipino can certainly be found not just in the work we do, but also through shared group advocacies.
Featured during the breakout sessions were current projects on social enterprise and sustainable livelihood, the environment, education, and the collaboration between Lopez Arts Initiative and Arugang Kapamilya.
Next, we act
In her synthesis, Bunny Gerochi, VP and HR group head of First Philippine Holdings Corporation-First Gen Corporation, had this to say about the choice of the theme: “When you look at the (human deal) framework, it is easy to fall into the trap of viewing it as just another checklist that you can use to design new and trendy employee offerings.
“But the nuance here is that we need to see this framework through the human lens. It asks us to look at our employees as people with ‘whole selves’ rather than just workers; and their lives, not just something to balance off with their jobs, but as something that is bigger and encompasses their jobs.”
Gerochi underscored the overarching themes that surfaced from the LLSS 2021 presentations: Purpose—this would include the company’s purpose, which everyone aligns to, and personal purpose, which we need to uncover and help to fulfill; listening and inclusion—measuring, following through, treating employees as cocreators; flexibility—flexible benefits, flexible time, flexible experiences for growth, and flexible learning opportunities; context and diversity—one size does not fit all (Our experiences and aspirations are different and we cannot leave these differences at home. We have to bring our whole selves to work); and, well-being— given the experience from the pandemic, looking after our people’s well-being during a crisis is a huge concern and priority.
She further said: “The human deal is a guide to elevating our employees, ourselves and through us, our organizations and customers and ultimately, our communities and humanity. This is our shared purpose. We got a lot of ideas today, many that we will need to learn more about and work hard to achieve.”
In closing, Gerochi led the call to action for Lopez Group employees: “Let’s do it! Let’s do it together, pivot together, succeed together!” (Story/Photos by: Redg Plopinio)