Mercedes Lopez-VargasHR Council chair Cedie Lopez Vargas (MLV) is proud of the long way the HR Council has come, being one of the earliest corporate initiatives instituted by Lopez Group chairman emeritus Oscar M. Lopez (OML) in 1999. OML was then chairman and chief executive officer of both Lopez Holdings Corporation and First Philippine Holdings Corporation.
The Lopez Group leadership has since changed with the times, and so has the HR Council. For this, MLV thanks the HR core team, “both its past and current leadership.” Through the proactive work of the collegial body, the HR Council offers skills training through the general membership meetings (GMMs) and analyses of emerging trends and issues through a forum called HR Insights. Both activities are held quarterly.
“We have actually broadened the scope of the HR Council by trying to synergize with other initiatives. For example, the Walk the Talk (WTT), which is now handled by HR, has enlarged itself and has become a platform where we can introduce other initiatives like sustainability, volunteerism, disaster risk reduction, disaster relief, environmental consciousness and social responsibility,” says MLV, who is also executive director of both Lopez Group Foundation Inc. (LGFI) and the Lopez Museum and Library.
WTT is the monthly fitness activity of the Lopez Group, open to employees, their family and their friends on a pay-as-you-go basis. Host or sponsor companies provide a light breakfast. Participation has steadily increased over the years, with big companies like Rockwell Land Corporation and First Balfour Inc. becoming more active, and smaller companies like Asian Eye Institute and INAEC Aviation joining.
“What we have found is that combining these initiatives has led to a holistic approach geared toward creating engaged, aware and productive Lopez Group citizens. With the Walk the
Talk numbers constantly increasing, we see how the camaraderie of the employees of the different companies has gotten stronger. The relationships seem easier, warmer and more collegial. It’s easier to work together when you recognize the faces of people you see at Walk the Talk,” MLV says.
WTT has also taken participants to different sites, introducing employees to different Lopez Group companies and partnerinstitutions, among them Eugenio Lopez Center in Antipolo, First Philippine Industrial Park and First Gen Green Energy Complex in Batangas and La Mesa Watershed in Quezon City.
Meanwhile, the professional learning continues throughout the year via the GMMs and HR Insights as the council seeks to develop agility among its members as they respond to the changing demands of the business, and of the workforce as well. As old as the practice is, the search never ends for the most appropriate performance management system, engagement evaluation tool, data and people analytics application, talent development platform and other such strategic HR concerns.
Going forward, MLV believes the HR Council will continue to grow and cover more ground, with its goal of creating a strong sense of corporate citizenship and engagement among employees of the Lopez Group.
Although she recently retired from her duties as head of Logistics at ABS-CBN Corporation, MLV’s help is being sought for the establishment of the ABS-CBN Museum to be located in Bulacan. She is also busy overseeing the transfer of the Lopez Museum and Library, as well as of LGFI, to temporary offices while awaiting the completion of The Proscenium in Makati, which will be the museum’s future home.
Her message to Lopez Group readers is that the HR Council will continue to provide the broader view to Lopez Group members, from rank-and-file employees to CEOs, giving the HR Summit as an example of how the team makes this happen.
“The HR Summit is the highlight of the year for us and many people look forward to it. Our speakers are always people of great substance. The CEOs attend it. What we’re seeing is a merger of both HR and CSR and all the other initiatives that give an integrated, interwoven perspective of issues before us. So everybody gets a look at the bigger picture, not limited by their functional expertise or corporate citizenship,” says MLV
She believes the HR Council remains to be a vital link in uniting the different disciplines, companies and employees to act with greater impact toward the ultimate goal of serving common stakeholders.
(Story/Photos by: Carla Paras-Sison )