Security Bank’s Nerissa Berba on the state of HR technology in the Philippines: “HR has transformed and is currently transforming”

Rockbird media’s very first HR Tech’s feature is Security Bank’s Senior Vice President and Head of Human Capital Management Group, Nerissa Berba. Prior to joining Security Bank, she was Hong Kong Shanghai Bank’s Senior Vice President and Head of Human Resources in the Philippines. Also, she spent almost four years as an HR Director of Deutsche Bank where she headed both the local HR Group and the HR Regional Advisory Team. Rockbird media had the opportunity to chat with Nerissa about enhancing her knowledge as a leader, the state of the HR industry in the Philippines and more.

Security Bank is currently receiving applause because of how open it is in terms of diversity and inclusion. Nerissa stated that their organization extremely values diversity and inclusion. “We hire and retain our talent due to their competence not according to age, gender, nationality, etc.” The more tenured employees keeping up with technology are not to be worried about. Security Bank uses digital tools that impact their employees – they would teach them thoroughly, giving them step by step procedures on how to activate certain platforms. Engaging their employees at the onset has proven to be a very good strategy in helping employees adapt quickly and utilize the platform. Being mindful in every decision they make, all their employees are being provided equally regardless of their age, gender and nationality. Managers are also encouraged to train on how to be more inclusive as leaders. “Being inclusive is how we want our leaders to behave so that employees can bring their authentic self to the organization”.

Last year, Security Bank was named as a Top Philippine Employer by Statista. They have supported the well-being of their employees while adjusting to the new normal – enriching their people’s learning and development capabilities and providing them opportunities for growth. Their victory is the result of the organization’s investment in people transformation. “One of the things that we value most is to hear what employees say about what we do in the organization. Their feedback matter to us as an organization”

And technology plays a big role to achieve that. Like Nerissa stated, they have invested in digital platforms powered by Artificial Intelligence or AI which allows their employees to speak up anonymously. The Bank not only can get immediate feedback post the survey period, but people managers with at least 3 raters have the ability to understand their sentiments/concerns. Action plans are then determined to address the needs of their employees. Feedback is taken seriously by their senior leadership team.

Most organizations in the Philippines use different kinds of technology to enhance their processes although study shows high percentages of leaders who complain about manual work. Is the future bright for human resources technology in the country? Nerissa is seeing a positive light. “Yes, HR has transformed and continues to transform given the challenges that we’re facing brought about by the pandemic.” She also shared that there are a lot of vendors today that organizations can partner with to make the lives of employees and the managers much easier. Educating leaders and employees is a must to know the functions of the digital platforms if they want to understand their own attrition rate, the demographics of their people, etc. This allows people managers to be more strategic given the data available in a more efficient manner. They are able to make faster decisions. It is a big transformation most organizations are embarking on. “We want our employees to really see the value of the investment we are making in technology. This is not us pushing work to them. It’s enabling them to become better employees and leaders.”

The Senior Vice President closed the conversation by giving a message for all the HR Leaders in the Philippines:

“We are not here to just provide services. In essence, we are partners and enablers to the growth of the business that we support. First, we should not stop ourselves from giving out suggestions and giving feedback because most of it is really coming from one’s experience. Second, we need to think of how else we can improve the way we provide assistance to our partners in the business and to continue the ability to learn. We should look at best practices of other organizations and learn from them. We have to be externally focused so that we keep up with the changes in the market. Third, let’s continue developing people within the HR community and learning from each other. It’s really important, because you get better insights through interactions and collaborations, suggestions and ideas, which I find very helpful especially when you’re undergoing a lot of transformation. Then fourth, let’s communicate the changes that we are making within the organization. People think that HR is such a simple job, but it is actually a difficult one and oftentimes, challenging. As the saying goes, HR is a thankless job. You will never reach a point where you can satisfy all your employees. There will always be detractors. But as long as you’re clear on your objectives and you’re aligned with what the business wants to do, then HR can play a vital role for the organization you work for. Talk about your successes, help people understand why you do things, why changes are introduced, so that they also can provide you with the right support.”

For more Nerissa Berba’s perspective on HR technology, join us at rockbird’s first ever HR Tech Philippines 2023 on June 28th in Manila, Philippines.

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About Rockbird Media

Rockbird media is an international business media company that produces B2B events and offers business solutions.